PETALING JAYA, Sept 22 — Security firms face a severe manpower shortage as qualified Nepali workers are becoming more difficult to hire.
Companies told Malay Mail yesterday it had been a tough year as they were only able to bring in about 10 per cent of the workforce they used to.
Eagle Eye Security Sdn Bhd managing director E. Brand Chetri said the significant decrease in Nepali foreign workers could be because of agents, who were supposed to bring them here.
“We’re not sure what exactly is the problem but maybe it’s the agents because the Nepalis are not keen to come here,” he said.
He said the drop in the value of the ringgit could also be a factor.
As a solution, the company tried hiring Malaysians as security guards but most only lasted a week on the job.
“Our priority is the Nepalis but we have no choice but to hire locals. We’re just waiting for the government to announce from where else we can hire guards,” Chetri said.
Earlier this month, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government agreed to allow security firms to hire guards from countries other than Nepal but no decision was made on the countries.
A spokesman for a company in Selangor said the decline in recruitment of security guards started after the massive earthquake in Kathmandu last year.
“The excuse given was they had family matters to settle or that they will not pass the health screening process,” she said.
She said while the company had a quota of 100 workers, it was far off the mark.
“We used to receive workers in batches of 20, but now it’s between two and five people,” she said, adding tha security firms could only hire Nepalis as their foreign manpower.
A Chico Force (M) Sdn Bhd spokesman attributed the decline to unauthorised people bringing in workers illegally.
“In these cases, the welfare of workers is not taken care of. Some get beaten while others are robbed,” he said.
He urged the government to engage the Nepal embassy to come up with an insurance scheme for their workers.
“The government needs to have a special policy to take care of the security and health of these workers. If this is done, the companies could secure workers and their families back home would be happy too,” he said.
However, The Kathmandu Post reported on Monday that workers were shying away from Malaysia as they were forced to cough up tens of millions of rupees annually due to expensive pre-departure services.
It said Malaysia, which outsourced the visa processing service to an agent, had absolute control over services that workers have to go through before coming to Malaysia.
The migrants must undergo health checks from authorised agents — Malaysian companies and their sub-agents in Nepal — and pay heavy charges to three outsourcing companies that process the visa and stamp a hologram on the passport and biometric identification of the concerned worker, the paper said.
Nepali workers coming to Malaysia to work as security guards have to pay an additional Rs20,000 (RM772) to another agent, Teleport Sdn Bhd, for training.
The paper said the introduction of these agents by Malaysians now sees a Nepali worker spending a minimum of Rs80,000 (RM3,089) for a job in Malaysia, representatives of the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea) said in the report.
The Kathmandu Post reported Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd was the first Malaysian agent to enter Nepal in November 2013 and since the visa processing fee had rocketed from Rs700 (RM43) to Rs3,900 (RM241).
Last year, Malaysia introduced two more agents. The paper reported the Ministry of Labour and Employment tried to shut down their offices but failed “due to pressure from within and outside Nepal”.
“Malaysia has threatened to stop hiring Nepali workers if we take any action against its agents. There was a strong lobby from within Nepal to give continuity to these agencies,” said a Ministry of Labour and Employment source.
Only 60,979 Nepalis took up jobs in Malaysia between 2015 and 2016, a sharp decline from 202,828 a year earlier.