Panthers of ISKL #12 - The Security Team featuring Syed Mohsen Ruhaifi, Nganasekharan Lingam Sekhar, Pathma Vathi, and Harun Sulaiman.
This week we caught up with the unsung heroes of ISKL - the Security Team! GNT Security Services Sdn Bhd (GNT) has been outsourced as the security company for ISKL ever since 2011, at both the Melawati and Ampang Jaya campuses. When ISKL opened its new campus at Ampang Hilir in 2018, GNT continued to be our security service provider.
With a deployment of 43 security personnel, and a dedicated Assignment Manager and Executive, four of the long-serving security personnel have shared their personal experiences while serving at ISKL. They are Syed Mohsen Ruhaifi (Assignment Manager) – who joined in May 2016, Nganasekharan Lingam (Assignment Executive) Sekhar, who joined in 2014, Pathma Vathi (Security Officer) who joined in 2014, and Harun Sulaiman (Security Officer) – who joined in 2019.
Here are their stories.
Describe what your department does and what would happen to ISKL if your whole department were to take leave for one day?
Syed: We are the frontliners of ISKL. I chose to be a guard because of the challenges that arise from the job - I feel a sense of honor and pride when everything runs smoothly and I always practice the "3A" principle in life, which is A for accept, A for adapt, and A for action.
My department handles the general security and we are divided into subdivisions such as ingress and egress control, perimeter control, and traffic control during rush hours. We cover large areas from the entry to the exit gate, manning of the lobbies, loading bays, the sports complex, and patrolling. For the day shift, we are divided into three areas - building, perimeter, and basement on a two hours' rotation. For the night shift, it's on a one-hour basis that covers all areas.
We all come from different states and regions around the country - but most of us are from Kuala Lumpur. We also have five Nepalese guards in our team. Should my department take leave for one day, it would go beyond my imagination of what would happen as the entire security team are the frontliners for ISKL.
The busiest time for me is the morning rush hour, as we are expecting the arrival of 50 buses, besides the vehicles of staff, vendors, and parents. Although, the most busiest time of all that I have ever faced was during the International Festivals.
At the old Ampang campus, all the vehicles needed to be parked outside; inside is only for dropping off their items.
Here at the Ampang Hilir campus, we allow cars on the grounds to park in the basement or outside. We have had to deal with limited parking bays, vendors, and inclement weather. However, for two consecutive years, my team and I have been able to go through it without any significant incident or complaint. Patience is key.
On top of that, natural disasters - be it torrential rain, strong winds, and thunderstorms while handling the traffic during rush hour is not an easy task either.
There was this one time that a snatch theft happened at the Ampang Hilir road, and since then, we have taken precautions by placing guards on that road during rush hour.
Last but not least is the current pandemic COVID-19. Although we follow all the SOPs from the school by examining the body temperature of every person entering the school, we are still at risk of dealing with this invisible virus.
In any case, I like the ISKL community, which is multi-racial and multicultural. The various occurrences which take place every day automatically provide an opportunity to learn how to deal with the situation and indirectly increase our skill levels.
The best part of my job is that here at the Ampang Hilir campus, I have learned a lot of new things, such as the fire panel, PA system, and CPR training. I do love my job - I am multitasking and eager to learn about something each day, even though it's sometimes not related to the security job scope.
Complete these sentences:
a. I wish that the ISKL community knows that we are not the best, but rest assured, we will try to do the best in protecting the school and the community.
b. 'Contagion' is a movie that perfectly describes what we do.
c. If there is an emergency, just don't panic, and we will handle the situation following the school SOPs.
d. If we can change one thing about ISKL, it would be to be respected - because no matter who and where you are, respect is the primary key for survival. Be down to earth.
Sekhar: I come from a family of uniforms, where I was working as an enforcement officer for 16 years, and after that, I chose to be a security guard, providing my services to ISKL. I feel very proud when staff, parents, or students give feedback and comment that they feel safe when they are at ISKL. Perhaps they realize that we have a capable security team that they can trust and depend on at all times.
We are responsible for safeguarding ISKL's community, students, staff, teachers, and also to be sure all the buildings are always safe and secure at all times. We also make sure all visitors are checked following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
If the security team takes leave for even one day, the security of ISKL would not be guaranteed. Anybody can easily have access without being stopped. I usually have my officer reporting and communicating with me through the radio every two hours. Also, occasionally I will make my rounds on a motorcycle at Ampang Hilir road every morning when students or parents are walking to ISKL. I will also be at the busing lane during the rush hour to monitor the traffic flow and safety of the pedestrians.
The busiest time is when the staff and parents start arriving in the morning and the afternoon rush hour. Typically, most of the guards have their lunch at the canteen. They are also allowed to buy food from outside.
We have guards coming from different states in Malaysia, and these guys are provided with hostels by the company. We also have guards who have a background in uniform and are well experienced.
For me the biggest challenge I had faced so far happened at the old Ampang campus when a group of outsiders tried to talk their way in and wanted to gain access to ISKL. Seeing that something was very wrong, I did not allow them to enter and was firm on my decision in not letting them into the grounds. Also, for International Fest we have a lot of visitors from all over the world - but there is always a lot of food, fun, and smiles at this event so its all good!
The best part of my job is working with my security team, who are very professional. Also, the parents, staff, and students of ISKL are very great to work with. The least fun part of my job is when I have to work during rainy days. And the reason why I like working at ISKL is the appreciation we get from most of the community. The guards are thanked for our service, and we feel welcomed at all times.
Complete these sentences:
a. I wish that the ISKL Community knows to understand and cooperate with us in implementing the SOPs.
b. 'London has Fallen" is the movie that perfectly describes what we do.
c. If an emergency happens, just let us know, and we will be there to handle it and help you out.
d. If we can change one thing about ISKL, it would be looking into the structure of the ISKL building.
Pathma: One of the main reasons why I wanted to be a guard is to protect people and maintain safety. Often, the watchful presence of a security guard is enough to deter potential criminals and prevent incidents. I am grateful to the present security team, who are very professional.
Right now, we are handling the COVID-19 outbreak, which is stressful for my entire team and me - there's undeniably a lot of fear and anxiety in all of us. In short, we are the only people on campus during this Movement Control Order (MCO) period, which was imposed by the Government.
The team has performed outstandingly, taking on additional duties such as sweeping and cleaning the common areas and toilets of the campus. They have also been watering the plants, disposing of the rubbish, feeding the fishes and tortoises, and helping out with clearing rainwater each time it rains.
Members of the team have not complained about having to take on these additional responsibilities, but instead, they feel proud that we can upkeep the campus the best that we can.
Officially, my department's job is to secure the premises and personnel by patrolling the property, monitoring the surveillance equipment, and permitting access point entry. We react to any triggering of alarms, maintain the environment by monitoring and setting building and equipment controls.
I usually do my rounds from the top of the building to the lower ground making sure guards are at their posts and update all the logbooks daily. I also make sure all the classrooms, offices, and rooftop doors are locked.
Also if I may add, I have worked at the old ISKL Ampang campus for six years, and I have never encountered anything scary or spooky, perhaps because I worked mainly during the day shift.
The management of ISKL is an excellent group to work with. The working environment is very positive and conducive due to the recognition given by our efforts. Compassion, respect, and understanding are essential aspects for building a healthy family.
And the best part of my job? When I am meeting new Korean parents as they don't know our language - I need to use sign language so that they can understand us!
Complete these sentences:
a. I wish that the ISKL community knows that we are the backbone of ISKL.
b. 'Night at the Museum' is the movie that perfectly describes what we do.
c. If an emergency happens, just inform us, and we will proceed.
d. If we can change one thing about ISKL, it would be some of the drivers' attitudes.
Harun: Many people may think that a security guard is the least significant person working in a place. For me, the skills and the experience gathered in ISKL have shown me that being a security guard is a vital job and something to be proud of.
We are giving the best service to our community so they can feel safe, secure, and have a peace of mind when they are inside the campus under our protection. Furthermore, the smiles and happy faces of the students, parents, staff, and even the visitors are giving us much satisfaction from this job.
And our job is important - imagine if strangers were driving into the ISKL campus without being asked, stopped, or scanned. Or if visitors or outsiders walked into the school, roaming freely into offices and classrooms. It would be disastrous!
Assigned guards will perform security rounds and checks every two hours for the day shift and every one hour for the night shift while security officers and head guards will do the security rounds frequently. All the spine areas, including the offices, doors, classrooms, sports center, and the school perimeter, are checked for any abnormalities or signs of intrusion.
The team is always busy during morning rush-hour and afternoon rush-hour. On weekends, it will be hectic when there are major events.
Our guards come from many different places and backgrounds with some who migrated from different states just to work here. We also have some guards with excellent academic qualifications and have experience working in other industries such as the army or the police. We have a variety of people with working experiences, skills, and knowledge to deal with any type of challenge.
We have had many small challenges, such as an attempted snatch theft at Jalan Ampang Hilir, stolen mobile phones or gadgets inside the campus, and terrorist alerts during the Iran-U.S. cold-war threat.
However, the biggest threat we are facing right now is the COVID-19 pandemic. Facing invisible intruders is the most challenging job we have ever had, and we have had to follow health guidelines from the World Health Organisation and the school.
Everyone entering the school needs to go through a body temperature check to detect any fever symptoms. This procedure was done for more than 800+ people every day without fail when school was in session, and we are proud to have executed this well.
The action taken to prevent any contagious effect in the school is thoughtfully done, and social distancing enforced. During the MCO period, entry to the school is strictly by approval from the Director of Risk Management. Anyone with fever or without permission is restricted from entering the school compound.
Besides that, the other craziest challenge we have ever faced was during the International Festival event. All visitors, regardless of their backgrounds, numbers, and profiles, are allowed to enter school and join the festival. Here is where the skills of the security team kick in.
There were too many vehicles coming into the campus, and ISKL has limited parking space. We had to squeeze in as many cars as possible inside the school, and traffic control managed wisely and fast. At the main entrance, guards had to standby for the whole day as people kept coming in.
Then the best part came - it was raining heavily, and there was a thunderstorm that night. All guards did not 'chicken-out'; instead, we stood our ground and braved the heavy rain to make sure that all the attendees and the school were safe and well protected.
The reason why I like working in ISKL is that the security guards are appreciated and respected for what we do, by all levels of the community. The community recognizes our work and the importance of the security guards. Hence, we repay them with our excellent services.
And most of all, the best part is being able to meet, greet, and talk to people from all over the world. (I have not met anyone from Iceland though!).
The least fun part is to standby on the road under the hot sun, rain, and thunderstorms, etc. You name it - we've been there and done that. Luckily there is no snow in Malaysia; otherwise, we will be one of the snow-men, with an ISKL muffler wrapped around our necks!
Complete these sentences:
A. I wish that the ISKL community knows that there is nothing compared to the services that we deliver to ensure you are safe in school.
b. 'Olympus Has Fallen" is the movie that perfectly describes what we do. (Well maybe I'm a little bit ambitious)
c. If any emergency or incident happens, just call the guards, and we will be there to help you.
d. If we can change one thing about ISKL, it would be the roof of the buildings - so that when a heavy rain comes, the corridors, carpets, and classrooms are not soaked!