MALAYSIA ASEAN & APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF. DR JACOB GEORGE ASKS – ARE THEY REALLY GURKHA GUARDS THAT’S ENGAGED IN MALAYSIA?

ARE THEY REALLY GURKHA GUARDS THAT’S ENGAGED IN MALAYSIA?

I am certain that many of us would have wondered about the nationality of the security guards at our housing estates, gated communities and condominiums.

And not all of us are aware that only Nepalese ex-servicemen, those from the Indian Army and Gurkhas were permitted to be security guards in Malaysia?

However the reality today is due to the ‘pawning of licenses’ Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Afghanis are alleged to be masquerading as security guards to further compound an existing security and locus problem!

It was reported last year that more than 150,000 locals and 50,000 ‘Nepalese Gurkhas’ were legitimately employed as guards in the country.

Can I know by what means the approving bodies certified that these 50,000 were indeed “Gurkhas?”

With demands for security guards growing especially those wanting ‘Gurkhas’ – even though it is a fact they no longer exists among the age group currently employed, it is vital that policy directives need to be relooked in view emerging challenges and fraud.

It is therefore time to address an alleged violent abuse and misrepresentation that is currently unattended to despite me raising my concerns behind close doors with past policymakers!

No one denies the importance and contribution of the historic Gurkha guards, in many parts of the world.

They were famous for their exploits in warlike conditions or in environments that require any physical prowess.

They were trained, disciplined and with their physical strength and faithful nature makes them extremely compatible for security jobs globally!

Their loyalty was also unquestionable!

Based on this, many countries within the Commonwealth, post-World War Two offered those positions and citizenship and where they lived now and had their being.

Among the countries still having those from this lineage in active duty though small is in the UK and Singapore!

Based on the past historical facts Malaysia had given a monopoly to Nepal and with it Malaysian security companies were allowed engage them.

But the pertinent question today in view allegations is – are those hired and represented as “Gurkha guards” in Malaysia today, really Gurkha guards?

This question was raised by me in the late 90’s and then again, in 2007 in policy circles!

As a result, twice, I was part of a task force led by then the respective Director Generals of both the then, Internal Security Ministry and the Human Resources ministry to meet the Nepalese Government and the respective stakeholders to assess the ground conditions and facilitate accreditation in the ongoing exercise involving Nepalese security guards!

Even then as we visited the training schools and security companies and witnessed their ‘security drills’, it was already evident, that those arriving as ‘Gurkha guards’ were not one but farmers, lorry drivers, workers and others unskilled with fake certificates.

I remember the then Director General of the Internal Security Ministry telling me during that trip, “George, ada banyak pelakon kat sini!”

On return, we decided that only those whose background was either from the Nepali or Indian Army were to be allowed and strict protocols were planned.

The validation for approvals for applications was the Army’s pension books which were to authenticate their background and credentials!

In recent years, it is a well-known fact that there are no more ‘Gurkha Guards’ in Nepal.

So the pertinent question is what is the background of those we are hiring and the government giving approvals to?

Today, we are told that the costs of the employment process for security guards is nothing lower than RM5000.00 based on political pressure from Katmandu!

The security firms employing them need to provide accommodation, uniforms and all monies for medical, levy and other payments are not deductible!

Their new take home pay is nothing lower than RM1800.00 for 26 days.

The amended tenure of contract from three years is today, two years!

I have absolutely no issues with all these as the architect of the government to government program launched in 2014 for ‘Free Visa Free Ticket’ to cut the middle men, agents and others manipulating the labor industry for both Vietnam and Nepal and several source countries!

But my concern today is the need to revisit the monopoly given to Nepal on the basis and representation that we are hiring “Gurkha guards!”

Today industry and security company sources are stating that the vast majority arriving as “Gurkha guards” are really ordinary Nepalese farmers, workers, lorry drivers and others who have absolutely no security training or background in law and order!

And they carry fake accreditation!

And firms here are helpless to intervene in view of the current policy.

As a former Nepalese IGP told me in Katmandu, in the presence of another serving general – “they are just Nepalese warm bodies masquerading as trained personnel! But it is a dangerous game they are playing. Security is no child’s play!”

Well put!

So why should we allow those unskilled and without security backgrounds to be employed here when what we should be initiating is looking at other options and countries!

In view to this, it is pertinent that a policy review is in need and we need to examine if the time is appropriate to open up this sector to both Indians, especially for those in Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra and certainly, Sri Lanka which was on the drawing board, before inexplicably, disappearing?