KUALA LUMPUR: The Security Services Association of Malaysia (PPKKM) estimates that at least 40 of its member companies are backed by gangs.
Its president Datuk Seri Mustapa Ali said the association had formed a task force with the Home Ministry, police and Immigration Department to weed out the gang-linked firms.
However, proving the underworld connection was difficult.
“We really don’t know what the actual figures are because of the discreet way they operate.
“We have reported 40 companies to the Home Ministry for suspected gang links. They are smaller franchises of bigger companies but they are run by gangs,” he said.
He said it was a win-win deal for both parties, as the bigger companies raked in higher profits, adding that the gangs hired cheap, untrained labour and continued expanding their influence through the apparent legitimate business.
Mustapa said these groups hired illegal immigrants or ex-convicts, while gang members worked as officers of the security firm.
“The guards are not trained, some don’t even wear uniforms but just a shirt with the word ‘Security’.
“They make money by underpaying these guards as no one else will hire them,” he said, adding that gang-based security groups operated mostly in housing areas and industrial zones.
“This has been going on for a while but it is becoming serious as now the gangs are competing with each other for territory.
“Residents and customers are scared and PPKKM has no power to take action against these companies. The authorities need to step in,” he said.
Mustapa said currently a total of 761 security companies were registered under PPKKM.
According to the association’s estimates, there are 200,000 legal Malaysian and Nepali guards and as many as 47,000 illegal guards working in the country.