By DATO PROF EMERITUS DR. HASHIM YAACOB & ADI SUKMA
TAN Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the Home Minister had made some statements on the Nepalese security guards issue recently. He had stated that the Security Services Industry must start hiring more local guards and to stop depending on foreigners forever (Star, 31.10.19).
Government’s current policy allows the hiring of foreigners not on permanent basis and currently are restricted to temporary employment of Nepalese.
But how come we see Bangladeshis and Pakistanis as security guards being employed? Does this mean that they are employed illegally?
We, the authors, think that the government should increase its effort to attract more locals to work in this industry. Good training packages, reasonable salary and retirement schemes will create attractive image of the profession and hence will encourage citizens to the jobs.
New technology should be used to increase efficiency, so that dependence on foreign workers could be minimized according to national need.
Muhyiddin further stated that private security services play a role in helping the country curb crime, maintain public order, ensuring safety of the public and properties (Star, 31.10.19). Though violent crimes, said he, have gone down in general, cannot be taken for granted.
Muhyiddin further warned security companies to obey and refrain from committing serious offences (MalaysiaKini, 30.10.19). Breaches of the law could cause security threats to the public.
The Home Ministry had revoked licenses of 62 security services companies for various problems since 2013, including hiring illegal workers, failure to conduct screening on employees, using fake identification documents, and firearms- related offences.
Muhyiddin had also stated security guards play important role in safeguarding business premises, residences, commercial buildings and public places, as well as forming police’s eyes and ears (MalaysiaKini, 30.10.19). They provide crime related information to police while helping prevent and curb criminal activity before it happens.
The following are the authors’ views regarding the employment of foreign workers as security guards:
The Government and Industry must be committed to create revitalized private security industry within an economic policy that puts the interests of Malaysian industry, workers, and our national requirements, as opposed to unbridled importation of foreigners into our homeland.
There is high unemployment rate among citizens, as such jobs are taken up by foreigners who would be willing to accept low salary due to difficulty in getting jobs in their own countries. It is most unfair to offer such low salary to Malaysians. In Singapore, security firms pay high salary for Malaysian security guards. They are treated with dignity and pride, with provision of proper annual leave, medical benefits, employment benefits, bonus and such others as required by Labour Law.
Many foreign workers in this country are not able to converse in the National Language, or for that matter in most languages spoken by Malaysians. There is no evidence to show the foreign workers are keen in learning the Malaysians’ languages. Foreign workers hardly care about Malaysian history, traditions, cultures and customs. This could lead to failure in communication that would lead to many critical situations.
Looking after the security of the public should be in the hands of local people, who are supposed to be loyal to their country. Therefore, Malaysian citizens should be preferred. In contrast, foreign security personnel do not serve our national interests at heart.
Serious national support, funding and training for local security personnel are hence mandatory.
We often hear leaders and industrialists of this country blaming local workers as being lazy, have attitude problems, untrustworthy and unreliable. But the fact remains with the underlying problem of the industries not providing attractive salary and benefits to them. Many of them are only interested in cost-profit goals at the expense of the citizens of this country, and the country’s interests.
Have you ever been lost in some cities and have asked a foreign security guard to help you with information? We have. But only to our devastation to discover that we could not communicate with each other effectively.
Security forces should be one that is committed to significantly reduce crime in this country, that would give full support to the police force that is trying their very best to hold back the tidal wave of crime. Security forces that are made up of citizens will do well for this purpose.
YB Muhyiddin has spoken well about this matter, and he must now do what is necessary.
DATUK Prof Emeritus Dr Hashim Yaacob ialah bekas Naib Canselor Universiti Malaya, dan empat buah universiti swasta; Felo Royal College of Surgeons of England ; Pemenang Hadiah Sastera Perdana Malaysia 2001; Pelukis; Kepten Pasukan Sukarelawan Tentera Laut DiRaja Malaysia(B).
Adi Sukma ialah penulis bebas dan aktivis politik berkelulusan undang-undang.