IT WAS not long ago that The Star went “undercover” to expose how anyone could walk into a security firm and get a job instantly.
A large and reputable security firm in Petaling Jaya had absolutely no second thoughts about who our reporter, who provided false particulars, was.
The official who hired him without even a cursory check was obviously interested only in getting an extra pair of legs for sentry duty.
Neither did he have the interest of the party who had engaged the firm’s services.
What we wanted to probe was the processes involved in the hiring of private security personnel. It was common knowledge that many guards were accepted into the payroll without a background check, let alone a medical test to determine their suitability.
The whole process shows beyond the slightest doubt the serious flaws in the hiring process.
Just consider this – the security guard accused of murdering 10-year-old Nurulhuda Abdul Ghani had eight convictions. The security firm claimed that the ex-convict had shown false documents to them to get the job.
This particular “guard” was based at Tenaga Nasional Bhd’s main intake substation at Pekajang, which is a high security area.
What guarantee is there that some irresponsible party could not have exploited him to cause damage to life and property?
Malaysians are outraged at what Nurulhuda had to endure before breathing her last.
They, including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, have demanded swift justice.
It is time that the basics are observed in the hiring of security guards. No one should be handed a security uniform if that person is incapable of carrying out his duties, or suspected to be involved in undesirable activities.
The Home Ministry has strict guidelines in approving licences for security firms. The backgrounds of those seeking such licences are given a through vetting.
Such “gate-keeping” will come to nought if those who finally end up at guard posts are criminals who are picked at the whims and fancies of the firms.
Security guards have an important role to play, as firms expand their operations with the growth of the economy.
Guards are being employed daily without any training. Some are even suspected to be illegal immigrants.
Some security firms only think of their profit margins, not the safety of their clients, and so offer very low wages. So it is not surprising that even vandals and thugs end up on their payrolls.
The Home Ministry’s pledge to investigate firms flouting the regulations is heart-warming but it will be a tedious task screening the estimated 150,000 security guards in the country.