Sunday, 27 October 2013

Whither the Security Guard Companies – Bank Officer Murder Opens a Can of Worms

By: Danny Liew Shan Lee

The robbery of Subang Jaya AmBank branch that resulted in the senseless murder of the branch operations officer has shocked the nation. The robbery may have netted the suspect, ostensibly from Jalan Apas of Tawau a total of RM450,000 (approximately USD143,300). But the repercussions of his action may see the security industry being targeted for industry-wide cleanup. 

Long being derided as a major exploiter of workforce by workers union, the industry has been almost continuously attracting negative news. The underpaid workers in the industry had been accused of nearly every crime under the sun. But this case it has reached a new low. Never before in a robbery by an armed guard that the guard had resorted to murder his charge. 

The fact that the cops were able to pinpoint that the murderer is actually a foreigner (believed to be from Sulawesi, Indonesia) using a forged MyKad (national identification document) and that he was issued a pump-action shotgun without proper vetting and qualification has now forced the government to bring the hammer on the security firm that employed the murderer.

Before we go any further, let's make it clear. There are 2 distinct issues.

  1. The cut-throat nature of the industry had resulted in the operators of security firms cutting corners to maintain profit level.  
  2. A foreigner managed to get a job with a security firm using a forged MyKad.

Security Guards Industry 

With more than 400 firms in the industry, the cut-throat nature has resulted in the operators to quote ridiculously low price. The result of the extremely low price is then passed onto the employed guards, many before the Minimum Wages Act being put in place (minimum wages are now set at RM900 [approximately USD286;62 as at writing time] for West Malaysia and RM800 [approximately USD254.77] in East Malaysia) earned less than RM800. Even with such low wages, the industry still managed to request for a deferment. 

Those who work as armed guards do earned more, but still do not commensurate with the risk of their job. Thus, it is not surprising that some of the guards are noncommittal to their jobs. 

Thus, for this industry to regain back its clients' trust, it must be ready to increase its wages to get the right people on the job.

But for this to happen, the security firms must stop its cut-throat practice and be ready to charge a premium for its services. And its clients must be ready to accept the increase in the cost as inevitable. Ironically, many of these clients dabble in businesses that do earn profits by the hundreds of thousands and in the context of banks, billions.

Forged MyKad 

The cut-throat manner the industry also led to many firms illegally employing foreigners as guards. But this particular case is unique as the murderer had used a forged MyKad. 

Soon after the fact that the murderer had probably came from Sulawesi, voices were out that the murderer had obtained the MyKad from Project IC, thus trying to portray this as a political issue.
However, this is not the case. The IC is not only forged, the number does not exist in national database. 

This brings us to a single conclusion. Someone had been negligent. There is a high probability that there were no attempts to perform security vetting on the murderer. 

The fact he was issued a weapon within one year of employment also points to corners being cut. Sources in the industry alleged that guards are supposedly only allowed to carry arms after 3 years of service with the same firm. If this is true, this is a serious breach of control, regardless that the guard is a foreigner or Malaysian. 

It is heartening that Home Minister had instructed that the company's operating license be revoked with immediate effect, a day after the tragic murder.


But a further review on all security firms needs to be done. Who knows how many more foreigners* (Malaysian laws prohibited foreigners from being employed in the industry, except Nepali Gurkhas) and non-qualified Malaysians are still being employed as armed guard, or even normal guards. Surely, we don't need another tragic incident to push a change in the industry.

* as at press time, 3 of the murderer's relatives had been arrested and 2 of them were also working as guards.

DSGC wishes to convey condolences to the family of Madam Norazita Abu Talib. May the murderer receive his fitting end.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...