Guards armed without permits

PETALING JAYA - Some security firms are arming their guards without waiting for police approval of the carry-and-use permit.

Federal Police Management Director Comm Datuk 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."

Comm 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."

Comm Mortadza said the 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," Comm Mortadza 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.

"Again, careful checks must be performed to ensure the permits are genuine, and security firms should also perform their own checks before hiring any guards," Comm Mortadza said.

"The firms must have the responsibility to hire only those qualified to be security guards.

"They must have the integrity to ensure the security of their clients by hiring guards that are suited for the job," he said.

Comm Mortadza conceded that the issue of errant guards with fake MyKads had caught the authorities by surprise, and added: "We are investigating how the foreigners obtained the fake cards. "We must find out who supplied the cards."

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the security industry was highly regulated but many companies breached regulations, including hiring foreign workers as guards.

"The ministry only allows security firms to hire Malaysians and Nepalese ex-soldiers," he said.

While the Government performed vetting of security guards as well as other checks, the security industry should be internally regulated.

"However, if the rules are broken, the Government must step in," he said.