Unpaid guards lock pupils and teachers out


ALOR SETAR: Frustration boiled over when more than 200 pupils, their parents, 50 teachers and canteen helpers were prevented from entering SJK (C) Keat Hwa (S) when striking security guards kept the school gates locked.

Some had arrived at the school in Kampung Baru, Jalan Istana Lama here as early as 5.30am.

At 7am, a teacher who had had enough climbed over the gates to obtain the keys and open the gates.

It is understood that the guards acted in such a manner as they have not been paid their wages since January. Each were owed RM5,000.

The guards also put up a banner urging the District Education Department to help them.

A manager of the security firm later showed up with school board of director Lim Gek Leng and chairman of the school’s Parent Teacher Association Patsy Su.

Su said the guards were offered RM1,000 each as a temporary measure but “the guards wanted their management to pay them their outstanding salary”.

Lim, who kept watch on the school when the guards did not show up for duty on March 26 wants the security firm changed.

“We don’t want uncertainties on security issues. The priority is the safety of the pupils, teachers and the property of the school.

“The guards may act in such a manner again if they are not paid their salary.

“They have their family and children to care for.

“One of them ate bread only while on duty at the school,” Lim said.

“The school can’t do anything and we hope the District Education Department will act on this matter.”

State Education, Transport and Public Works Committee chairman Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain said the security firm was facing financial problems.

“This is the same firm that failed to pay the salaries of its guards stationed in the Kuala Muda-Yan district,” he said in a statement.

Tajul said the District Education Department paid the company for its January services.

“The payment for February and March were not paid as the firm has yet to submit its claims.

“This firm is not a qualified one and I will advise the Ministry of Education to be careful when selecting firms that provide security guard services,” Tajul added.

Source: The Star