Security industry calls for extensive coverage on Covid-19 screening

Firms impacted by additional costs to adhere to SOPs and provide protective gear, as well as contract adjustments with clients and payment delays


SECURITY Industry Association of Malaysia (PIKM) calls for extensive coverage for the Covid-19 screening programme as it could lessen the burden for employers to bear the costs.

PIKM honorary secretary Ku Norazmi Imam Asmawi said many changes had to be made for security firms to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs), which inflicted additional operating costs.

“PIKM hopes that the government would allow every security personnel in the country to join the programme. They are also frontliners,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Following the rise in Covid-19 cases involving security personnels, security firms have been strict in ensuring the guards undergo Covid-19 tests, as ordered by the government in May.

Due to this, he said the association lauded the government’s initiative to extend the Covid-19 screening programme which was introduced in April this year, but hoped for it to be more extensive.

Recently, the Social Security Organisation (Socso) extended the Prihatin Screening Programme (PSP) to employers in areas affected by the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) to enable their employees to undergo Covid-19 testing.

Socso accountholders can opt for free testing at designated panel service providers or claim up to RM150 per employee under the Subsidi Saringan Prihatin.

Ku Norazmi said besides the screenings, firms also have to bear additional costs from the changes made in dorms to adhere to the SOPs and to provide necessities such as face masks, hand sanitisers and thermometers.

Firms are also impacted by contract adjustments with clients, as well as delay in payments.

Therefore, to assist PIKM members in maintaining operations, Ku Norazmi said the association often reminds them of the initiatives rolled out by the government and informs them of new ones.

“We always inform our members of the initiatives that the government has. These include the Special Relief Facility, PSP, Penjana (shortterm National Economic Recovery Plan) and others.

“It is to ensure that companies continue to be competent and security guards will remain employed,” he said, adding that the association previously provided face masks to personnel who are on duty at high-risk areas.

A Covid-19 cluster involving security guards in the country was first detected in May when 10 positive cases were recorded deriving from a mall in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur. Since then, several other malls saw security guards getting infected by the coronavirus, most of them non-Malaysian citizens.

BG Capital Holdings Sdn Bhd, which owns Berani Guard Sdn Bhd, has ensured that sufficient supplies of personal protective equipment such as face masks are distributed to its guards since March.

BG Capital MD and CEO Saliza Abdullah said to further minimise the impact of Covid-19, the group also regularly sanitises workers’ hostels and the activity is administered by the group’s in-house National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s certified officer.

“We conducted an RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) swab test on all Nepalese security guards including staff/guards who work in the red zone areas,” she told TMR.

As a result of the pandemic and various levels of movement restrictions enforced nationwide, the group saw a drop in revenue while its operating cost increased, due to the need to provide safety items for its employees.

However, Saliza said this does not deter the group from moving forward and finding other means to support its operations.

“In hindsight, it has forced us to pivot the business model and focus our resources and energy on the business segment which we did not see as that important in the past, but is very much in demand right now.

“For example, in July, we launched an on-demand security service in collaboration with our technology partner Code7.”

Security on-demand enables the group’s clients to subscribe to its security services, which deploy trained security personnels to check the client’s premises during the MCO.

A recent case involving security guards was detected at Jaya Grocer outlet at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, where two of the chain’s outsourced security guards tested positive.

Commenting on these cases, Saliza opined that malls’ management should be more vigilant in ensuring a safety environment for their employees and customers.

Before hiring a team of security guards, Saliza said malls’ management should always insist that the security company provide a copy of the workers’ Covid-19 test results, as well as their personal identification, as a way to curb the spread of the virus.