Expert: Security at malls still not up to mark

PETALING JAYA - Shopping malls, the scene of several crimes in recent days, can do more to beef up security measures, an expert said.

Security Services Association president Datuk Shaheen Mirza Habib said their managements still had "that apathetic attitude" towards security despite the number of untoward incidents.

"I see this for myself when visiting some shopping malls," he said.

"The security guards do not patrol all floors of the car park. I think some malls hire the bare minimum number of guards just for show - not for real crime prevention measures," added the director of one of the biggest security firms in the country.

Shaheen took several mall managements to task by accusing them of merely paying lip service in implementing security measures for the shoppers.

"There are malls where guards do not escort lone female patrons to their cars. I noticed that there aren't enough CCTVs in these car parks either," he added.

Shaheen said many of the shopping mall managements did not make security a priority, which was evident from their budget allocations.

"Some security managers tell me that they have a tough time when trying to get extra funds to improve on the security.

"In many of these malls, security is the least of the managements' concerns."

However, Malaysian Association for Shopping and Highrise Complex Management president H.C. Chan has refuted these claims.

"Shopping malls are much safer than the streets. It is unfortunate that a few people were robbed inside shopping malls and they became high-profile crimes," he said.

Chan, who is also Sunway Shopping Malls chief executive officer, pointed out that malls in Malaysia spent more on security and resources than those in developed countries.

"We are very concerned about security.

"Not only will it affect our business, but it will also affect tourism, which shopping malls profit from," he pointed out.

While he acknowledged that there was room for improvement, he said it was the mall that stood to lose big if security was not up to mark.

"It is foolish to say that we spend less on security. Even if we don't have the budget, we'd rather spend on security rather than marketing, because good security is good marketing."

Since the attempted kidnapping of Internet marketeer Chin Xin-Ci from a car park in The Curve in Mutiara Damansara, the mall has recorded a 30 per cent drop in profits.

Since then, six other high-profile crime cases were recorded in nearby shopping malls, though none of the cases are believed to be related.

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