IT’S 36°Celsius. Beads of sweat trickle down a security guard’s forehead, drenching his clothes.
He does not know if his clothes are soaked with sweat or rainwater, as the tattered beach umbrella he uses for shelter was not sufficient to protect him from a downpour earlier in the day.
When he needs to answer nature’s call, the nearest toilet that he can use is at a petrol station, a 15-minute walk away.
To make matters worse, he has to wait for his colleague to replace him before he can leave his post.
The situation is not the same everywhere as some residential areas have provided well-equipped guardhouses for their security guards as discovered by StarMetro in a few areas in Subang Jaya and Kuala Lumpur.
While the local authorities have said that guardhouses without approval cannot be built on public roads as it would obstruct traffic, residents can still apply for guardhouses to be built on road reserves according to specific guidelines.
At the same time, some residential areas without approval to set up guardhouses have been able to do so because residents were willing to fork out the extra funds for the maintenance.
When StarMetro visited USJ 5/3 and USJ 5/4, the security chief there, who only wanted to be known as Surendra, a UN-trained guard from Nepal, said he was pleased with the facilities provided for security guards, including a guardhouse.
“We have a toilet, water dispenser, and a fan here,” he said.
Residents’ association (RA) president Datuk Jimmy Lim believed that taking care of the guards’ welfare would ensure better job performance.
“By caring for them, we believe they are happy to do their job well. We also give them ang pow and hampers during Chinese New Year and for the Nepalese New Year,” added Lim.
He said the gated-and-guarded system at the two areas had been revamped since he took over as president in 2013.
“There were about 13 robberies prior to that, but now with infrastructure upgrades, it is down to nil,” he said.
In contrast, the security guards in USJ 11/3 were standing under beach umbrellas at three access points without a proper guardhouse.
Its RA vice-president Singam Muniandy, who is also a Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) residents’ committee representative, said security guards were provided mobile cabins at the three points and were required to come out and stand under the umbrella to take down visitors’ details.
“The council does not allow us to have a permanent structure on public roads, so we can only have mobile cabins.
“During a downpour, the guards can only take down vehicle number plates and operate the boom gate from inside the cabins,” he said, adding that they could only provide a portable toilet at one of the access points.
Singam, however, said four guards worked at one shift and they were provided bicycles to patrol around the residential area.
It is all good news at two areas in Putra Heights.
At Laman Putra, Section 7, guards worked from a guardhouse with fans to keep cool.
A portable toilet is located at a playground near the guardhouse.
RA president Adrian Looi said they, however, could not provide running water at the guard post as a Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL) was needed.
Guards at the Royale Palms, Section 3, also had the privilege to work from a guardhouse, that too with an attached toilet.
The guards told StarMetro that they were satisfied with the facilities provided.
MPSJ corporate planning department deputy director Muhammad Azli Miswan affirmed that guardhouses could not be built on public roads but only on road reserves, provided the residents adhered to the stipulated guidelines.
“We understand that there is a demand for gated-and-guarded system.
“So for neighbourhoods without MPSJ approval to set up guardhouses, we will consider letting it stand as long as there are no complaints from residents,” he said, adding that the RA was required to submit an official application to set up the guardhouses.
A check in Taman SA, Bangsar showed a well-equipped spacious guardhouse complete with air-conditioning and water supply.
It, however, lacked a built-in toilet, but as the residential area is nearby a shopping centre, this does not pose a problem for the guards.
“We are happy with the facilities, and we always have two guards on duty at a time,” said senior security personnel JP Donald Philip Pivathisan.
Another example of a well-equipped guardhouse is the one at Laman Damaisari.
It is located at a separate building at the entrance to the neighbourhood, with a built-in toilet.
Although facilities at a residential area in Jalan Leong Yew Koh in Taman Tun Dr Ismail were not as complete, the guards are content.
Security guard on duty Zakir Hossain said he got wet sometimes when it rained but it did not bother him much.
When he needs to go to the toilet, he would ask a colleague to replace him while he returned to his house located nearby.
At Bukit Bandaraya, Bangsar, most guards have mobile guard-houses with power supply.
In Jalan Kemaris especially, a kind houseowner has allowed them to use the toilet at his vacant property.
Bukit Bandaraya RA chairman Datuk Mohd Ali said space constraints hindered the respective neighbourhoods from getting bigger guardhouses with good facilities.
“Some neighbourhoods are not built with a gated-and-guarded system and we have to apply to the local council to have one.
“This is why there are no specific areas for guardhouses and we have to occupy road reserves.
“We also have to get a permit for a guardhouse with recommendation letters from the police, Alam Flora, and Fire and Rescue Department,” he said.
Security Services Association of Malaysia adviser Datuk Seri Shaheen Mirza Habib urged the public to hire legal security guards for their housing area.
“RAs should only hire Nepali guards as getting other foreign nationalities was against the law.
“The guards should be provided with a proper cabin as shelter from the sun and rain as well as toilet facilities. They are human, too.
Shaheen also said there was no criteria on the kind of facilities that should be provided for guards.