FAMILIES in Perak can rest easy when bringing their young children to public places such as shopping malls and tourist attractions in the state.
A check by The Star at such establishments showed that many have a strong security presence and stringent measures to protect visitors and children against kidnapping and other crime.
Ipoh Parade shopping mall security supervisor Zainuddin Jaaffar said his security team was confident in handling untoward incidents that might take place in the mall, including kidnapping.
“I have not come across a single kidnapping case throughout my seven years of service here, but we are always keeping a watchful eye over our visitors and any suspicious individuals.
“Our security personnel are constantly on the move to look out for any suspicious activities and we have various closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras located throughout the mall to help us keep an eye on crucial locations.
“In fact, the refurbishment works that are currently underway at the shopping mall includes a boost of its security features through the installation of 80 more CCTV cameras and improvement in lighting at corridors and the car park,” he said.
Zainuddin said the shopping mall would definitely be placed in a lockdown should the security team learn of a kidnapping in it and have good reason to suspect that the perpetrator and victim were still in the premises.
“We would cordon off the main entrances and patrol the surroundings and mall interior while also looking out for the victim through the CCTV cameras.
“The police would of course be informed too and we would extend our full cooperation to them to solve the case,” he said.
Taiping Zoo and Night Safari director Dr Kevin Lazarus said the security guard stationed at the exit of the zoo would not allow children to leave the premises.
He said the guard, who spot a crying children, would bring them to the management, which would in turn alert the guardians.
“The guardians would only be allowed to take away the children if the little ones recognise them,” he said.
Dr Lazarus said in the last two decades, only a handful of children lost their way in the zoo but were eventually reunited with their guardians.
He said the 2.5km trail of the zoo was designed to be a one-way system, thus it would not be difficult to locate missing children.
“Our staff would always be there to assist those in need of help,” he said.
Nonetheless, Dr Lazarus had cautioned adults to be more careful outside the compound of the zoo, especially at the car park.
“Everyone could access the car park as it is an open area.
“After leaving the zoo, parents or guardians should be more alert of their surroundings, which could be hideouts for perpetrators,” he said.
Tesco Malaysia Corporate Affairs and Government Relations director Azlam Shah Alias said the hypermarket giant had a standard operating procedure to deal with such cases.
“We will extend our fullest cooperation to the police to help in the investigation, which may include a store lockdown,” he said.
Lost World of Tambun (LWOT) communications & public relations executive Mazian Nawawi said 90 CCTV cameras were installed in different parts of the water theme park.
“We would hand over CCTV footage to the police if required,” she said, adding that the management had maintained a close rapport with the authority.
She said trained park inspectors and auxiliary police, who patrolled the park all the time, were always on standby to handle emergencies such as kidnapping.
“We could also easily monitor visitors’ movement, since the entrance and exit are at the same spot,” she said.
Mazian said parents should always accompany their children or keep them within their sight.
“This is always announced through our public address system from time to time.
“Should they come across any suspicious people, parents could inform the reception for assistance,” she said.
In the event of a child’s disappearance, she said staff at the theme park would obtain the child’s description and disseminate relevant information to various departments.
“If the situation becomes aggravated, we could seal the entrance and exit,” she said.