Malaysia’s Special Branch Counter-Terrorism Division head, DCP Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the division has uncovered a ploy by Islamic State (IS) to have its members take up positions as security guards and to strike targets at the opportune time. It is understood that some of these undercover operatives had been assigned duties at strategic locations, such as international airports. Fortunately, they were arrested by police before any act of terror could be carried out.
Police have rounded up more than 300 terror suspects since 2013, including at least seven who were working as security guards, last year alone. One of these questionable security guards was attached to an airline and was stationed at an airport. The report said police have not let up in their fight against terrorism, but many security companies do not follow the standard operating procedures in hiring security personnel, including not vetting their background, thus allowing easy infiltration by terror operatives.
Ayob said that based on regulations, those who want to set up companies offering security services will have to submit their personal particulars to the authorities for security vetting before licences can be issued. “When hiring security personnel, these companies also have to first vet the applicants before subjecting them to further vetting by government enforcement agencies. Only those who fulfil the strict requirements can become security guards and allowed to carry firearms.”
He disclosed that some security services companies forego the vetting process for the sake of convenience, to the detriment of not only these firms but also of the country. Police stepped up operations against terror suspects in the run-up to the KL SEA Games last year and discovered that many terror operatives had infiltrated security services companies, he said. Ayob added that the only foreigners who can become security guards in Malaysia are the Nepalese.