Dr. Tamoor Azam
Thousands of Nepalese nationals working for private security companies in Malaysia have returned to their homes during the Covid-19 pandemic, leaving private security companies in dire need of security guards that are not available. According to an owner of a security company, many of our security projects have been shut down due to the return of Nepali nationals because many companies want to hire Nepalese security guards.
Now the people running private security companies are asking Indian and Pakistani citizens to hide their nationalities and show themselves as Nepalese to make them acceptable. Such companies are waiting for the Malaysian government to relax travel restrictions so that they can visit Nepal to hire the services of new guards. The Malaysian government has a long-standing agreement with Nepal to hire security guards, which prevents citizens of any country other than local Malaysians and Nepalese from working as security guards.
Security company owners say the Nepalese government is currently providing security guards to Singapore, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait. While Nepal’s own population is not as large as required, the government show normal citizens as retired soldiers to enable them to work as a security guard. The security companies wanted the Malaysian government to enter into an agreement with Pakistan to hire retired army personnel as security guards to fill the vacancies available in Malaysia. Because the retired personnel of the Pakistan Army have one of the best training and currently, many retired soldiers from Pakistan are also working in Europe, the UK and the United States, including the Gulf countries. In the past, the Malaysian government did not agree to hire Pakistani guards, even though Pakistan was willing to give its retired commandos to Malaysia as security guards. There have also been complaints from some security companies in Malaysia that their security guards are not being paid, but the majority of the security guards cannot get remedy under the system due to want of a work permit allowing employers to take undue advantage. Employers deprive them of their salaries while they have to serve for twelve hours a day and they don’t get weekly off which is a violation of labour laws. In many countries, security guards do not work for more than eight hours but a majority of foreign migrants currently living in Malaysia are forced to work illegally in private security providing companies, restaurants, hotels, construction, factories and other public places due to the Malaysian government’s ban on work visas. It is hoped that once the issuance of visas begins, they will somehow get a work permit and continue working in better conditions. Most foreigners caught by immigration officials’ work using fake visa stickers. Delays in issuing work visas by the government has become a major threat to the Malaysian economy as it is hampering many developmental projects. If this were to happen due to the fear of the Covid-19, an economic crisis could ensue which is very difficult to control. The Malaysian government has the best chance to open its airports following the suit of Dubai, Qatar, the UK and Saudi Arabia under SOPs to avoid an economic crisis and to see Malaysia re-emerge as before.
The writer is a Research Analyst at Kunming University of Science and Technology, China, He can reached at Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile No. +8615559837189