PETALING JAYA - Some Malaysian security firms are arming their guards without waiting for the police carry-and-use permit.
Federal Police management director Mortadza Nazarene said regulations required the companies to apply for firearms licences first.
"After that, the firms have to apply for a carry-and-use permit for the guards chosen to carry weapons," he said. "However, some firms arm the guards first without waiting for the permit to be approved by the police."
Commissioner Mortadza said the firms did not adhere to the regulations due to several factors.
"It would normally take more than three months for the police to vet the security guards before issuing the permit. We normally check for any criminal record while the National Registration Department would verify their identification and other relevant information."
Datuk Mortadza said approval to carry firearms came straight from the office of the Inspector-General of Police.
"The Home Ministry is in charge of licensing the companies that hire and manage security guards," he said.
"While firearms licences are issued to security firms after careful checks, civilians have to get the approval of the respective state police chiefs to obtain permits to carry firearms," he said, adding that some security firms hired individuals who already had the permits.
Mr Mortadza conceded that the issue of errant guards with fake MyKads - Malaysian identity cards - had caught the authorities by surprise, adding: "We are investigating how the foreigners obtained the fake cards.
"We must find out who supplied the cards."
Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the security industry was highly regulated but many companies breached regulations, including hiring foreign workers as guards.
"The ministry allows security firms to hire only Malaysians and Nepalese ex-soldiers," he said.
While the government vetted security guards as well as conducted other checks, the security industry should be regulated internally.
"However, if the rules are broken, the government must step in," he said.