I was recently approached by fellow security practitioners to discuss on matters related to security enhancements that they were fantasizing about. Basically, these guys are involved in handling the public (5-star hotel, shopping mall and high end residence) and sought my opinion on security screening procedures.

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Yes, physical screening and search procedures on members of the public before being allowed to patronize or enter their premises.

That’s when the subjects on security measures implemented in Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila came up, save for the fact that we’re in Kuala Lumpur.

I protested.

For one, Kuala Lumpur is NOT Bangkok, Jakarta or Manila – no matter how hard you may try to convince me, I will not buy this. I have lived in Bangkok and traveled to Jakarta (even during bombing incidences and terrorist attacks). Geopolitical circumstances are just not in agreement that Kuala Lumpur should follow suit, save for non-existent laws that backs private individuals or particularly members of the security team with regards to screening procedures against members of the public.

Why should we sacrifice our freedom for a handful of nutjobs? Common sense dictate that in this part of the world, we’re probably more likely to die from diseases, gang related assassinations and more recently, faulty Takata airbags.

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Hotels, shopping malls and high end residences — whatever you call it, are not gazetted critical infrastructures. Neither for the fact that the security teams managing these facilities are qualified or have the authority to conduct such checks on the public which is also intrusive to our personal space and privacy.

Under what capacity, circumstances or legal authority should I give permission to a private security entity or organization to conduct security checks on my body and my belongings?

The bottom line here is that private individuals (security or not) DO NOT have the power to search members of the public!

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