“Saifuddin must regulate security agencies to curb poor treatment of Nepalese guards”

AN international labour rights activist has called on newly minted Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to seriously address the plight of migrant security guards in Malaysia who are very often subject to poor working condition.

Migrant worker rights specialist Andy Hall has described Nepalese security guards as some of the most abused, extorted and ill-treated at risk workers in Malaysia.

“They are often extorted from their villages in Nepal by local agents working alongside Malaysian security guard agencies that remain almost totally unregulated,” he told FocusM. “Malaysian security guard agencies are too often run by politically-linked former Malaysian law enforcement and military officials who act with almost total impunity.”

Andy Hall

He added: “They work the indebted guards non-stop, without rest days, housing them like animals in poor accommodation, and restricting their freedom of movement and ability to resign and leave through passport confiscation.”

Hall’s comments came on the back of news reports that two Nepalese security guards were found dead with injuries to their faces in Taman Perindustrian Oakland in Seremban on Saturday (Dec 3) believed to be from a fight under influence of alcohol.

Although currently only Nepalese are allowed to be hired as security guards in Malaysia, former Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin had said in May that Malaysia was looking at   allowing licensed security firms to hire from Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Indonesia in a bid to fill vacancies in the security sector.

“The situation for Nepali security guards in Malaysia is without a doubt too often one of systemic forced labour in the wealthy apartments, embassies, shopping malls and luxury shops of the Malaysian capital and across the country,” Hall further revealed.

“It continues to require urgent attention by both Malaysian and Nepali authorities, whatever the established cause of this latest incident.”

In September, Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor exposed that as many as 40,000 security guards in the country continue to be underpaid or paid irregularly for their work.

Sinar Harian quoted Kamarul who found that only two out of 10 companies surveyed had complied with the Employment Act 1955 in paying their security guards.

“When MTUC did the survey, we realised that their salary slips did not state the details of their overtime hours and overtime rate, and most of them were paid in a lump-sum,” he was quoted as saying.

He also claimed that many employers had not provided “punch card” to the security guards denoting the time they clocked in-and-out of work as a tactic to refuse overtime pay.

“All of these are against the law, but the security guards will not make any complaint because they are worried that their jobs will be at stake,” added Kamarul.  – Dec 6, 2022

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE