‘Guards just as important’

KUALA LUMPUR: The safety of more than 100,000 security guards is at stake in the fight against Covid-19 and it is high time they are prioritised for vaccination, says the Security Industry Association of Malaysia.

Its president Datuk Seri Ramli Yusuff said an estimated 70,000 guards were deployed at shopping malls, retail outlets, banks, other commercial places and residential complexes throughout the country while 50,000 more manned hospitals, schools and government-linked agencies.

“Private security guards interact with the public as part of their job, making them vulnerable to infection.

“They are tasked with ensuring all visitors, shoppers and employees do temperature checks and register at entrances.

“They also ensure physical distancing,” he said, adding that there were about 900 security companies licensed by the Home Ministry to cater to various industries and government agencies across the country.

Ramli urged the government to ensure the guards were given protection at the earliest, adding that there were guards who had contracted Covid-19 while on duty.

“Most of the guards are in the 25-60 age group. The most affected are Nepalese security guards, although the number is not large,” he said when contacted yesterday.

The former Bukit Aman Commercial Crime Investigation director said the association wrote to the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme centre in February to appeal for security guards to be vaccinated, followed by a note to coordinating minister Khairy Jamaluddin in May.

“The Health Ministry told us to advise our members and security guards to register individually through MySejahtera. We hope Khairy will address our appeal, which was also extended to the National Security Council,” he said.

Ramli said the number of guards who had been vaccinated could not be ascertained yet, but added that he believed the bulk of them have not received it.

“From communication with our members, we know that a large number of guards have not been vaccinated.

“We understood earlier that the government would bear the cost of vaccination,” he said.

On the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (Pikas), Ramli said the security sector was not among the sectors listed by the International Trade and Industry Ministry.

“We were not consulted on Pikas. But we do not agree if our members have to pay for the vaccination as the pandemic has affected them too,” he said.

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