Army vets fit the bill

Two security guards standing at the entrance of a school in Ipoh.

SCHOOLS in Ipoh welcome the move to use army veterans under the age of 60 as security guards, believing that they are better-trained and highly disciplined.

Those interviewed by MetroPerak said army veterans are more equipped to handle security issues compared to the regular people hired by private security companies.

School principal Zahidi Abd Ghani said he approved of the idea, provided that these ex-servicemen are fit and healthy.

“It is true that coming from a military background, their discipline and training are unquestionable.

“They can take the job, but I hope that they are up for the graveyard shift as well, because they have to clock in every hour from 7pm to 7am.

“This could be a problem for the middle-aged because of health issues. But as long as they are certified healthy and fit, I think they would be the better choice,” he said.

On Sept 19, The Star reported that the Non-Pensionable Armed Forces Veterans Malaysia (PVTTB) is ready to tap into a pool of about 50,000 veterans under the age of 60 to help reduce the country’s over-dependence on foreign guards.

The group had signed an MoU with Viper Force Sdn Bhd, founded by former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan in 2011 after retiring from the police force.

Having worked in nine different schools before, Zahidi said he has seen how undisciplined security guards can be, especially in terms of time management.

“They are supposed to be at the school by 7am, but sometimes they are nowhere to be seen when it’s already 7.30am.

“They do not seem to understand their full job scope. They are not knowledgeable about security issues and sometimes, they seem to be slacking off too,” he said.

When it comes to ex-servicemen, Zahidi said he is confident that they would serve the school better as they are more vigilant and alert.

Fellow school principal Chan Nyook Ying said she can vouch that hiring ex-servicemen to work as security guards in schools is a good idea, as her school currently has an army veteran working for them.

“He is the only guard for the morning post from 7am to 7pm, and I like that he takes orders very well – better than the other security guards who do not have any military experience.

“He is also helping out by manning the school traffic, so that our students may cross the road safely,” he said.

Chan said she could see the difference in standards set by those with a military background.

“We had to have a new security guard transferred in recently because our security guard was becoming too old for the job.

“He was faithful during his years of service to the school and I find that this new, younger security guard’s service is just not up to his standard,” she said, adding that she would press for more ex-servicemen to work as security guards.

On the idea that retired armed forces personnel could help address bullying, drug peddling and smoking issues as well as other social woes, Chan, however, said these guards are only the backup team.

“They do not deal directly with students, but they can be on the look out and inform us in the event of such social ills happening in the school.

“The handling of disciplinary issues will still go to the teachers and school staff,” she said.

Another school principal, Lau Swee Mun, agreed that ex-servicemen are better candidates for the position.

“The current security guards we have clearly do not know anything about security and the company could just take anyone in to fill the job position.

“This means that we could be dealing with amateurs,” he said.

Lau related that they have received complaints from parents who claim the current security guards are always busy with their mobile phones.

“When the guards underperform, we will complain to the security company and end up changing our security guards so frequently that our own teachers can not keep up with who’s who anymore,” he said.

Lau said he wanted capable people to handle the school’s security issues and speak to visitors.

“It would be better if we have healthy army veterans serving the school because I am sure they know how to handle the job properly,” he said.

Deputy Education Minister Datuk P. Kamalanathan supported the move, saying that he believes ex-servicemen would be more effective at the job.

“Ex-servicemen have the necessary skills to protect and ensure the safety of our schoolchildren,” he said.

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