THE Seberang Prai Municipal Council has re-designated four of its auxiliary policemen as protocol officers, who double up as security personnel as well.
Council president Maimunah Mohd Sharif said the services of protocol officers were needed, especially when entertaining dignitaries who visit the council headquarters as well as during programmes that the council hosted.
“Auxiliary policemen are generally trained for tough enforcement activities and may not be able to carry out protocol duties as desired.
“Therefore, these particular personnel, who are dressed in plain clothes, have been selected and given necessary training on the works of a protocol officer,” she said after chairing a full council meeting at the MPSP headquarters in Bukit Mertajam yesterday.
Earlier, during the meeting, councillor Johari Kassim questioned the need for the protocol officers, whom he referred to as “pegawai pengiring khas (special accompanying officers)” to follow Maimunah on her outdoor visits.
He claimed that even the state executive councillors did not have the privilege of hiring such officers, and wondered why the council president needed to do so.
Fellow councillor Dr Tiun Ling Ta sought clarification if the particular officers came under a new unit created by the council and whether they were given additional allowances.
Another councillor Teoh Seang Hooi said he did not see why the council president should not be given due protection, more so since she was a woman.
“I remember an incident where a few market traders got a little aggressive during Maimunah’s visit there.
“She is exposed to all sorts of risks and possible threats and therefore, should be accorded necessary protection,” he said.
Maimunah clarified that there was no special unit created for the protocol officers, adding that they still received the same salary as council auxiliary policemen.
She said during her visits on the ground, the officers accompanied her as well as council secretary Rozali Mohamud, in case of any untoward incident breaking out.
“They are not specially dedicated to protect me or the council secretary.
“They also render services to accompany VIPs, including the Chief Minister and Yang di-Pertua Negri on their official visits,” she said.