New source countries sought for security guards

Photo: Azhar Mahfof/The Star

PETALING JAYA: The country is need of about 40,000 security guards but, despite offers of better salaries, locals are staying away from the job,

Good quality workers from Nepal, which send security guards to Malaysia, are also hard to come by.

With such limitations, hiring foreign guards from new source countries has become necessary, says the Security Industry Association of Malaysia (PIKM).

PIKM, which represents over 940 security firms, said the association has been unable to plug the staff shortages with local workers as most Malaysians, especially in big cities like Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru, do not find job appealing, even when offered a salaries of up to RM3,600.

PIKM president Datuk Seri Ramli Yusuff said those with experience in security such as ex-servicemen and ex-policemen were also more interested in supervisory positions.Ramli said the security industry had a quota to hire 40,000 foreign security personnel from Nepal but at present, there are only about 10,000 of them in the country.

“Many Nepalese have returned to their country. We are facing an acute shortage. That’s why we have to bring in guards from new source countries such as Bangladesh.

“We are not looking to expand the quota but rather to fill the vacancies,” he said.

Ramli said that in recent years, good quality guards from Nepal were becoming scarce.

“Sometimes, farmers are sent here to work as guards. They are not well-trained and cannot speak English or Malay,” he said.

Ramli said last year, the industry had proposed that the government allow foreign security personnel from new source countries.

Recently, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said the government had agreed to allow non-Nepalese security guards to be recruited.

Ramli said it was now a matter of time before the move is finalised.

“Security personnel from Bangladesh will be those who are trained and qualified.

“We visited a training school in Dhaka where the guards were being trained by the army.

“We proposed that the government allow us to hire them and the government has agreed,” he said.

Ramli also said locals, especially those in cities, were not interested in the job. They were more inclined to work in the gig economy as delivery riders with flexible hours.

“In Johor Baru for example, local security guards who have been trained by the police went to work in Singapore where they can earn as much as S$2,000,” he said.

“When the minimum wage was RM1,200, we offered locals about RM2,600 inclusive of Socso and EPF contributions.

“Now with the minimum wage set at RM1,500, we are offering RM3,600 but there are still no takers,” he said, adding that companies have no issue hiring local guards from rural areas.

Delta Force Security Services and Consultancy director Haszry Hamid said foreign security guards were still needed to work in sectors such as construction, high-risk chemical premises, warehouses, supermarkets and the outskirts.

“Currently, locals make up 60% of the total workforce in the industry.

“Among the factors contributing to the lack of locals are better job opportunities in bigger cities. The long working hours are also undesirable.

“The public image of a security guard is also not good,” Haszry said, adding that various efforts have been made to attract more locals to join the industry through the use of incentives and salaries.Haszry said his security company has employed 2,105 security officers, 80% of whom are Malaysians and the others Nepalese.

“The recent increase in minimum wage has had a positive effect. Most security companies are also providing support by ensuring their employees’ welfare is looked after,” he said.

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