Demand for armed bodyguards soars after spate of violent crimes in Malaysia

Staying safe: Malaysian High Commissioner to the UK Datuk Zakaria Sulong (second from left), Chico Force (M) Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Seri Khoo Gee Chong and bodyguards taking part in a mock security drill.

PETALING JAYA - Demand for armed bodyguards has soared in the wake of recent shootings and other violent crimes.

More companies, including banks and multinationals, are hiring armed bodyguards for their bosses.

Many, including prominent business personalities, have been put on the waiting list as existing supply cannot meet the spike in demand.

There are now at least 600 trained bodyguards in the country.

A security specialist in Kuala Lumpur said the demand for armed bodyguards rose sharply after the murder of Arab-Malaysian Develop­ment Bank Bhd founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi in July.

"Almost every rich Datuk and public-listed company head in town now has at least one armed bodyguard.

"Businessmen have rivals and they won't know who they've offended in the course of sealing a deal.

"They tell me that after hiring an armed bodyguard, they can go about their business without constantly looking over their shoulder," said the specialist, who declined to be named.

Eagle Eye Security director Ram Bahador said the recent shootings have spooked many industry leaders, who used to hire unarmed bodyguards.

"Now, more clients are requesting bodyguards on motorcycles to accompany their vehicles.

"It gives them peace of mind, having someone around when they are reading the newspaper or enjoying a cup of coffee," said Ram.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Sham­suddin Bardan confirmed that more employers requested armed bodyguards in recent months.

"According to our feedback, security service companies have recruited 20 per cent more bodyguards to meet the demand," he said.

Seventeen security companies and a security association with 617 members are under the MEF.Eagle Eye Security executive director Noell Kailas said that at least 12 corporate clients requested armed security from his firm in recent weeks.

"Nepalese guards are in high demand but they are not allowed to carry arms in the country.

"We have well-trained, ex-military foreigners who fought in wars but they cannot carry arms.

"So, we have to source for local bodyguards who are as good and that's not easy." he said.

Inspector-General of Police Secretariat assistant head (public relations) Asst Comm Ramli Mohamed Yoosuf said that many security factors had to be considered before approval for personal bodyguards to be armed is given.

He added that anyone whose application for a gun licence was rejected could always appeal.

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