Saturday, January 24, 2004

Security Or Scare Crow?

It was reported by Bernama on 22 January 2004 that the Home Ministry would take stern action against Gemilang Sekuriti Sdn Bhd, the security guard company that employed a man detained in connection with the rape and murder of 10-year-old Nurul Huda Ghani last Saturday.

This includes either suspending or revoking the company's licence if investigations prove that it failed to adhere to the Private Agencies Act 1971.

The Ministry's Deputy Secretary-General (Security), Datuk Shafee Abu Bakar, said that under the Act all security guard companies were required to submit the names of those it wanted to employ as security personnel to the police. This was to enable the police to run a background check on the individuals to ensure that they had no criminal records.

"Their first offence was hiring an individual who was yet to pass police screening. In fact, I was informed that they never sent their employees' names to the police. In fact, the company's owner can be fined RM10,000 or be jailed for not more than two years," he said.

He said this when asked to comment on the rape and murder of Nurul Huda at a Tenaga Nasional Berhad sub-station guardhouse in Tanjung Kupang, Johor, involving a Gemilang Sekuriti guard.

Three men took turns to rape and sodomise the Sekolah Kebangsaan Tiram Duku pupil in the guardhouse, located 100 metres from her house.

Shafee said only 2,000 security guards out of 150,000 employed by 312 security guard companies had undergone the basic training course as required by the Ministry.

It is sad to note that the authorities have all the necessary statistics and figures, which also include reports and records, but only sit on them when they were supposed to work out solutions and preventions before anything happens. With 2,000 out of 150,000 security guards trained, which is less than 2%, the Home Ministry is clearly sleeping on their job all this time, not much different to those sleeping night guards.

There were also complaints that the police took more than two years to do the screening on names submitted by the security firms. The PM was saying the police has too many things to do and has to be extra careful. Was the delay due to red-tape, bureacracy or mere 'tidak apa'?

If there was no victim like Nurul Huda, there would not be anyone interested in the real picture of the private security. Security guards, to most of us, are just scare crows. They would not be able to do much. They sleep while they were supposed to be on duty. They even play insider for many break-ins to factories, offices and houses. They too are the first to run when robberies happen since the weapons supplied to them are far smaller. The Chief Inspector shot dead during a bank robbery was an exceptional case.

With so many security firms in the market (both legal and illegal), competition is too stiff causing them to hire cheap security who are there to 'scare', not to guard. Some firms even show letter of recommendation from the Home Ministry.

To the opportunists, Nurul Huda's case has provided politicians the opportunities to gain cheap publicities again. Look at some of the headlines:

Jojo Believed To Have Fled The District, Say Police
Cabinet To Discuss Rape Of Children - Najib
Home Ministry May Revoke Licence Of Gemilang Sekuriti
Government Psychiatrist Visits Nurul Huda's Family
TNB To Help Nurul Huda's Family
Security Guards Should Undergo Mental Evaluation - Chua
Nurul Huda Case: Police Investigations 90 Per Cent Completed
Induction Course To Verify Worker's Background
PM Extends Condolences To Family For Nurul Huda's Death

How much improvement would be made after this? Will these scare crows stay?

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