During a Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed that security service companies found hiring workers without having valid documents or involved in criminal activities will have their licence cancelled without a final warning given, Bernama reported.

Replying to a question from Datuk Seri Abdul Manan Ismail (BN-Paya Besar) on whether the Home Ministry was reviewing the procedure of hiring security guards following the case of suspected Abu Sayyaf militant group members using fake identity documents while applying to be security guards; the DPM said the stern action was to prevent infiltration by terrorists into the country.

He said: "The Home Ministry, specifically its security division which issues permits to private security service companies, has indeed tightened the procedure of hiring security guards. The police also do screening of each security guard to be hired to avoid what had happened in Sabah from occurring in other places."

Ahmad Zahid also expressed the concern that there is an increased risk of terror group members infiltrating Malaysia following the aggressive action taken by the Philippine government in the massive fight against the terror group.

He said: "From the efforts undertaken including intelligence information gathering with neighbouring countries, police managed to arrest seven Abu Sayyaf followers masquerading as security guards. All of them are still under police investigation and I do not wish to reveal more on this matter."

Earlier during the sitting, inspector-general of police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun disclosed that seven Filipinos - aged between 22 and 38 and working as security guards with a number of private companies - were arrested in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur on Sept 14 on the suspicion of being involved with the Abu Sayyaf group, Bernama reported.

In line with that, the deputy prime minister said the government had meanwhile instructed all enforcement agencies especially those stationed at the border areas with the Philippines to step up their security control.

Ahmad Zahid also revealed that police had increased cooperation with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission in efforts to identify and take action against website and social media account owners involved in spreading the ideology of the Daesh terror group.

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Additionally, Ahmad Zahid addressed a question from M. Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) on the cancellation of the 'Octoberfest' beer festival, claimed to be due to information received on a planned attack against the event by a certain group.

He said that police had arrested three individuals over the plan, adding that more information is being gathered and police have identified the related individuals.

He further explained that following an earlier warning by the inspector-general of police to cancel the event, the action was taken for the good of all.

Photo / 123RF