Key players said a new market was always better but Sri Lanka was not their first choice as other pressing matters choking the industry needed to be addressed first.
Security Services Association of Malaysia (PPKKM) adviser Datuk Seri Shaheen Mirza Habib said the Immigration Department’s crackdown on illegal immigrants working as security guards was much-needed.
The industry, he said, was preparing to increase the salary scale of legal guards from RM900 to RM1,000 in July.
“The crackdown would make agencies abide by the Home Ministry’s rules and unscrupulous agencies cannot provide untrained, illegal guards at cheaper rates,” he said.
Shaheen was commenting on Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed’s statement that the Nepali security guard restriction may soon be lifted to allow foreigners from other source countries, including Sri Lanka.
“There are enough Nepalis to work as guards for the local market. The ministry needs to clean up the illegal ones first before opening up another market,” he said.
“The intake of foreign labour has been frozen and we are unable to bring the Nepalis recruited to work here. So they should unfreeze it first before opening another market.”
PPKKM and Asian Professional Security Association (APSA) president Datuk Seri Mustapa Ali said they would have preferred the ministry to look at Bangladesh or Pakistan as source countries, as companies had raised concerns about the risk of hiring Sri Lanka Tamil Eelam supporters as guards.
“We don’t agree with Sri Lanka actually. We propose to the ministry to allow ex-army Bangladeshis or Pakistanis for guards, because they are already working here,” he said.
However, Datuk Seri Juniur Khoo, whose Chico Force hires guards for major shopping centres in the Klang Valley, said the Nepali-only policy was hurting regular security businesses and that opening up to Sri Lanka was a good move adding many also support the move .
Between 2014 and 2015, the Home Ministry cancelled the licences of 40 security guard companies and issued final warning notices to 49 others for various offences, including hiring untrained illegals as guards.
A total of 347 enforcement operations were conducted between 2013 and March 1 this year which saw 1,116 illegal security guards and 26 employers detained. (Colombo Gazette)