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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Why do banks fail to implement two-guard rule?

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(fz.com) -  Kawalan Prima Sdn Bhd, which had hired the killer guard is still guarding the doors of Ambank - despite the Home Ministry announcing that its licence had been revoked for not submitting vetting papers for the said guard, as well as allowing him to carry a firearm without a licence. 
 
Why haven't financial institutions implemented a guard-to-staff ratio in their banks?
 
Could an additional guard stationed at the USJ Sentral 2 Ambank branch have prevented the Oct 23 robbery-cum murder?
 
These questions are popping up now, as fz.com learns that police had been asking financial institutions to implement the ratio of a minimum two guards as a check-and-balance.
 
But the recommendation fell on deaf ears as bank security managers are on a tight budget. Security Services Association of Malaysia (SSAM) president Datuk Shaheen Mirza Habib say banks which are making billions in profits, do not bother allocating enough money to make sure their premises are safe.
 
"When banks choose which security company to hire, they pick the lowest quotation available. And when we tell banks there are not enough guards for such a huge place, the banks simply don't care. They take security issues very lightly," he told fz.com.
 
When bank officer Norazita Abu Talib was in the vault with another colleague, there was only one security guard – the suspect who shot her and made off with RM450,000. The outcome could have been different if another guard was present to monitor each other.
 
Shaheen admitted that the security services industry is currently at "a very sorry state", as unscrupulous firms hire illegal immigrants to work as guards in banks, condominiums and housing estates.
 
"Only Malaysian citizens and about 20,000 Nepalese are allowed to become security guards, and they must go through police vetting. Permanent residents cannot be guards too. But everywhere you see Pakistani and Bangladeshis guarding condos, those are absolutely illegal." he said.
 
He pointed out, that honest business operators are not rewarded for playing by the book. Instead they are being squeezed out of the market because they are unable to compete with firms that depress prices by employing cheap labour.
 
"A normal guard by right should be paid about RM2,200 a month, have vetting reports and a gun licence if he's armed. They are even well-paid if working on late shifts. But illegal immigrants are paid RM1,200 and their bosses make loads!"
 
He said the condo managers know very well of the hanky-panky behind the business, but are colluding with them for cheaper security guards.
 
There are currently 712 security firms in the country. Those who obtain an operating licence from the Home Ministry are automatically members of SSAM.
 
Ali Baba in security licensing?
 
Shaheen also said there are operating licence holders who are "franchising" the business, by renting out their licences to third parties.
 
If the authorities do not conduct frequent raids and checks, more firm owners are going to forced down that path, he warned.
 
"If the Home ministry does not weed out the rotten apples, soon the entire industry will fall into hands of crooks."
 
He also said that it is difficult for regular business entities to know which security firms to avoid.
 
"If bank managers check security guards' gun license more often and insist on vetting report from the firms, they can easily identify who are the illegal workers."
 
He opined that the Home Ministry should announce it to the press when they revoke licenses and name the violating firms, as it will serve as deterrent against any malpractices and warn those who are already had their hands stained.
 
Just as Shaheen is sounding the warning, it is learnt that Kawalan Prima Sdn Bhd, which had hired the killer guard is still guarding the doors of Ambank - despite the Home Ministry announcing that its licence had been revoked for not submitting vetting papers for the said guard, as well as allowing him to carry a firearm without a licence.
 
Company officials claim all it has received is a show-cause letter.

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