These days, it’s impossible to visit any housing area in PJ or KL without seeing some security guards checking your identity, and verifying that you’re who you are, and heading where you’re supposed to head. Necessary to prevent ever-escalating Malaysian crime rates, we pay monthly fees, and for the money, we are comforted by the sight of uniformed security guards patrolling our neighbourhood and guarding the now-limited points of entry.
But are these numerous measures really ALL that effective? For all you aspiring criminals out there, here’s a convenient list of things that can get you into a neighbourhood, no problem.
1. The five-finger secret code
As you’re passing by the dreaded gantries, don’t worry. Just give the guards the secret 5-finger code
Raise your right hand > Open your fingers, exposing your palm at a 90-degree angle > Wave left to right once.
If the guard reciprocates with the secret code, you’re in!
WARNING: Don’t wave left to right more than twice or engage in length conversation. You will seem ‘too friendly’ and arouse the suspicion of these oft-ignored guards.
2. Drive a nice car
Yes, I drive an old car. And because of that I will get stopped at every bloody security check without fail. However, I also used to review cars for a living. When I rock up in anything that costs more than RM100,000, the smiles are wider, the glances are briefer and the gantry is up before I’ve even reached the guardhouse. Something German would be nice.
3. Make a fake driver’s license
It might not be so easy faking an IC to a guard (remember, they might have ICs too *wink*wink*), so why not fake a driver’s license instead. Seeing as how they’re foreigners, most of whom are on bikes, they’re not necessarily the experts on spotting fake licenses and will most likely not ask too many questions with ANY sort of identification. There’s no hologram so you could easily just colour photocopy one, pay RM4 to laminate it, and you’re in. Personally, I’ve presented my (very old) student card to enter a condo before.
CILISOS Security Suggestion #1 : Instead of wasting time and building a queue while checking licenses, put a BIG sign outside your neighbourhood that says “SMILE! YOU’RE GETTING YOUR PICTURE TAKEN”, give each security guard an RM700 smartphone that has a decent camera, and get him to stick it in the car and take a picture of ALL the people in each car before letting them through. For those who don’t want their picture taken, then ask them to call the owners to get them at the gantry (that’s the price of privacy).
4. Buy a wrench
Here’s your typical barrier in a neighbourhood. In theory, what its meant to do is to prevent criminals from accessing the back of your house. Only a T-Rex would have trouble getting over that. Or technically, maybe a vehicle. OK… so perhaps that’s the purpose… to prevent a car or van from going in. That means thieves can only make away with small items – y’know like cash and jewellery and mobile phones. Anything bigger? Well then all you need is a wrench to unscrew this almighty nut, and it’s a backyard buffet.
Don’t even get me started on oil drums.
5. Bribe the guards (RM100 should do it… that’s five day’s pay)
I live in a pretty decent neighborhood in PJ, where the cheapest house you can find today would run up at least RM800,000 (don’t get me started on that topic). Each house pays RM60 a month for security, which given the 200+ houses in my area runs up to about RM15k. We have 4 guards on duty 24 hours a day, each one getting about RM1200 per guard per month, or less… minus the fees of the security agency.
Sound reasonable? Not really. These guards, usually from other countries like Myanmar and Nepal, come to Malaysia in search of a better life. For RM1200 a month, they work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day. That’s RM40 a day, or RM3.33 an hour. Other places pay as little as RM500 A MONTH (that’s about RM20 a day or RM1.67 an hour)! For that kinda money, and the way their employers (and residents sometimes) treat them, it wouldn’t be difficult to just pay them RM50 to look the other way. In fact, is it so shocking that we find some of these guards nodding off despite their comfy jobs (usually cos they’re greedy enough to work two jobs to sustain their opulent lifestyles)? Speaking of which…
6. Go after 1am
By this time, the poor underpaid dudes are usually sleeping. And as much as residents want to view this as laziness, if they pay peanuts, they get monkeys. Can anyone here honestly say that they would not nod off in the middle of the night on a 12 hour shift being paid RM2.50 an hour? No amount of policing is going to keep these guys from occasionally nodding off (especially when they don’t get paid enough to get by).
CILISOS Security Suggestion #2 : Pay them more, and dock their pays for each time they’re caught sleeping. Also, give them some books to read la or something.
Sometimes, there’ll also be one guard walking around armed to the teeth with a torchlight, ensuring they pass each house at least twice a day. You should be able to see him from a mile away with his torchlight, but should you actually get spotted, then get ready to fight it out with harsh language (usually foreign, and thus even more threatening).
7. Forge a sticker.
These clear plastic stickers that grant you access to certain neighbourhoods can be reproduced pretty easily. Take a nice picture of one, ask a graphic designer friend to clean it up, and print a replica for less than RM10. Coupled with your Mercedes Benz, confirm can kowtim.
8. Once you get in, just drive out (don’t let the orange cones scare you).
Has anyone noticed how there are rock solid gantries at the entrance of neighbourhoods, but not at the exit? Sure, budget constraints but wouldn’t it make more sense to make leaving more difficult than entering? No criminal is going to drive like a maniac INTO a neighbourhood. As a criminal, I wouldn’t really wanna get IN in a hurry – I’d be more urgent on the way OUT.
Honestly, we saw this in a few neighbourhoods and we can’t for the life of us figure out why. If anyone knows the answer, we’d LOVE to understand the logic here. How do they screen people leaving? They wave, remove an orange cone, and you’re on your way.
CILISOS Security Suggestion #3 : Do away with the stickers entirely (they’re a liability with very few advantages). Instead, invest some money into keycards. A simple two-gantry entrance-exit will cost you under RM20,000 with 200 keycards thrown in. That’s an RM100 per person ONE TIME FEE.
So, my fellow Malaysians… How many of you are happy with your neighbourhood security?