2021 was yet another tumultuous year for all in Singapore and globally as well. The Covid-19 pandemic continued to cast uncertainties and create chaos, as we witness and experience the emergence of new clusters, infecting many with different varieties of these new variants which are even more dangerous than the earlier variants detected.
The above triggered many unprecedented challenges; one of which being the emergence of new types of work environment and culture. The security industry saw drastic changes to their scope of work. At this juncture, I would like to compliment all our Security Agencies, who had withstood the test of time and embraced the changes graciously, by displaying a high degree of tolerance and resilience. This was certainly not an easy feat to begin with.
Several unexpected situations silently mushroomed during these unpredictable times. I would like to single out a couple of them, which had or will have a greater impact on the private security industry-at-large.
One of the major concerns that plagued our industry was the shortage of manpower. This came about as our foreign talents from Malaysia returned home to be with their loved ones and opted not to return to Singapore.
The situation was further aggravated when applications for new employees were not forthcoming or took a much longer time to process. This manpower crunch crippled many of our agencies’ manpower requirements.
Our members resorted to recruiting those who become available; such as those who lost their jobs, or who were adversely affected by the pandemic.
Others sought to adopt the Outcome Based Contracts (OBC). Today, all government-linked projects have adopted the OBC. Favourable feedback were received from the government procurement offices as well.
We are also seeing an increase in the number of non-governmental entities opting for the OBC. There is a need for our private sector service buyers to seize the opportunity to adopt the OBC; to achieve better security outcomes between man and machine.
I acknowledge that there are teething problems at this point of time, some of which requires some form of ratifications as we go along.
The government has signalled that the low-wage employees should be given a reasonable remuneration package, coupled with work-life balance.
The security industry is one of the sectors that is classified as having low-wage employees. The proposed changes hopes to improve the well-being of our low-wage employees; be a catalyst to attract more people to step into the private security industry, particularly the younger ones.
The workgroup working on the salary revision for the security industry has in-principle agreed that the wage revision for the security officers is in order.
Discussions are underway, taking into considerations the viewpoints of the various stakeholders. It is with fervent hope that these revisions will also trigger a wider transformation within the industry. These workgroup have taken cognisance of the pandemic; the need to address the current contractual obligations, as well as the country’s economic climate.
ACSA has proactively decided to address the crisis faced by our Security Officers and their immediate family members. We have decided to inaugurate the ACSA Educational Awards in November/December this year. It is our fervent hope that these awards will not only give recognition to our deserving officers and their family members, but also provide them additional financial support, as they continue to pursue their educational journey. We have sent personalised emails to all our members and donations are flowing in. The details of the awards are currently being finalised and will be announced soon.
ACSA Executive Committee takes this opportunity to wish our fellow Singaporeans a happy and safe National Day 2021. We would also like to extend our heartfelt tribute to all our security officers for continuing to keep our nation safe and secured, despite the uncertainties.
John Vijayan Vasavan, PBM