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Don't let your guard down
Publication Date : 23-12-2013
There were many newsmakers this year in Malaysia, but the ones that really grabbed the headlines were security guards.
While two bank officers were restocking an automated teller machine in a petrol station in Subang Jaya, a security guard armed with a pump gun sat on a chair.
The scruffy-looking man wearing a wrinkled security guard uniform was supposed to guard the two officers but was instead checking out a hot chick paying for petrol.
Standing next to the ATM, I took a photograph of the guard with my smartphone. He wasn’t even aware that I had captured a shot of him.
Unfortunately, the shot was blurry. If not, I would have tweeted it with the caption: “Malaysia’s Newsmaker of the Year”.
My Malaysia’s Newsmakers 2013 are 1) Pak Guards (security guards), 2) Sulu gunmen and 3) ex-Emergency Ordinance (EO) detainees.
If I were to follow Google’s top Malaysian searches of 2013, the Sulu gunmen would have topped my list of newsmakers.
In its annual Year End Zeitgeist, Google listed “Lahad Datu” as the country’s major events and hottest trends based on searches conducted in Malaysia.
Although the Lahad Datu standoff was one of the biggest news stories in Malaysia in 2013, methinks it was an isolated incursion that happened in a part of the country where not many Malaysians would ever set foot in their life.
July and August were bloody months where former EO detainees were gunned down in broad daylight almost every day. The gangland shootings were also big news but as I told my friends, “Unless you are a gangster, the chances of you getting gunned down is next to zero.”
My newsmakers of the year award goes to a profession that is supposed to make us secure. However, after a brutal shooting, I think we do need to hire security guards to guard security guards.
I didn’t really think of security guards as newsmakers until a security guard blasted his way into the headlines.
On October 23, La Ode Ardi Rasila, a 36-year-old Indonesian, allegedly shot dead 37-year-old operations manager Norazita Abu Talib with a pump gun when she and a colleague were opening a safe in a bank in Subang Jaya.
The security guard, with a fake MyKad issued in Sabah, escaped with 450,000 ringgit (US$136,882) on a motorcycle. Three weeks later, Bukit Aman arrested the AmBank robber in Kota Tinggi, Johor.
The brutal robbery also exposed that many security guards were actually foreigners who used fake MyKad to get the job.
It raised questions on how the authorities allowed a foreigner with fake identification to work as a security guard armed with a pump gun.
In a conversation I overheard at a petrol station in Subang Jaya a day after the Norazita killing, a Bangladeshi cashier asked: “Mana boleh itu orang Indonesia jadi security guard (How can an Indonesian become a security guard)?”
A week later, another security guard hit the headlines.
On October 31, an armed guard robbed a jewellery outlet in a mall in Kuala Lumpur. The security guard, who had been on the job for less than two months, had pointed a pistol at the store owner and escaped with a tray of jewellery at around 9am.
The staff had heard about the brutal AmBank robbery and they quickly gave him a tray of jewellery out of fear, according to Kuala Lumpur deputy criminal investigation department chief Assistant Commissioner Khairy Ahrasa
“It is possible that this security guard got the idea from the security guard from AmBank,” Khairy said. “I also do not rule out more cases involving security guards robbing their employers.”
Once again, the suspect was identified as Sabahan and believed to be holding a fake MyKad. It turned out that he was from southern Philippines.
Three days later, as if the two robberies had not given security guards a bad name, two Pak Guards robbed a telecommunication shop in Petaling Jaya which they were supposed to be protecting. They carted off more than 200,000 ringgit ($60,836) worth of electronic goods.
From then, I began to notice that security guards throughout the year have been making news. Here are some of the stories that I have found in The Star Online.
> January 25: A 24-year-old security guard died after he allegedly went amok with a metal rod near Taman Perkasa cemetery in Hulu Langat.
> February 19: A security guard was sentenced to eight years’ jail for forcing unnatural sex on a child.
> June 13: Pakistani national Shahbaz, 25, who worked as a security guard, was charged with the murder of American volunteer pastor David James Ginter in May.
> November 3: A police report was lodged against a “Datuk Seri” who slapped a security guard who asked him to move his car that was illegally parked at a shopping mall in Bandar Baru Klang.
> December 17: A security guard was detained after he accidentally fired a shot from his pump gun outside a pawnshop in Bayan Baru.
> December 18: A security guard drove off an armoured car which contained 250,000 ringgit ($760,45).
Who do I think is Malaysia’s newsmakers for 2014? Perhaps cosplayers?