By Balkish Awang
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – When it comes to bodyguards, the image of burly security men clad in all-black will immediately appear in most people’s minds.
But more and more these days, that image is wrong. Increasingly, women – beauties too - are being hired as bodyguards.
At first glance, Ameyza Yaacob, 35, looks every inch a model that catwalks down the runway in several fashion shows.
But the fact is, she is a personal bodyguard, dispelling the myth that the profession is exclusively a boys’ club.
The very nature of her job as bodyguard requires physical and mental acuity. As personal bodyguard to a Datuk, she meets the requirements for the job at hand. Like any profession, being a bodyguard has its challenges.
LEFT CAREER AS POLICEWOMAN
Sharing her career journey, Ameyza, who was born in Kuala Krai, Kelantan and resides in Kuala Lumpur since 2005, said she has previously served in the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) for five years.
“I joined PDRM in 2014 when I was 26 years old. After completing my training at the Police Training Centre, Jalan Semarak, I was assigned to Saratok, Sarawak for a year.
“While there, I served the Saratok Police Station doing general duties such as taking reports, etc. After that, I applied to join the Special Action Unit (UTK) and was transferred to Peninsular Malaysia,” she told Bernama recently.
After five years in the PDRM, Ameyza decided to leave the police force upon receiving a lucrative job offer as personal bodyguard to a businessman.
She was thrown into a dilemma, whether to leave the police force which was close to her heart or accepted the offer, said Ameyza, who was confident that she made the right choice and held to her principle that ‘wherever you are, your achievements are often the results of your work ethics.’
“Before arriving at the decision to leave PDRM, I took a year to dwell on the issue, whether to leave or stay. I even sought views from my seniors, family, and friends. There were mixed reactions. But finally, I followed my heart and decided to take up my new role as personal bodyguard.
“At first my family was against my decision to leave PDRM but after citing my reasons, they gave their blessings,” said the fifth of six siblings. Two of her brothers are policemen while her sister works as auxiliary police or ‘polis bantuan.’
During her stint in the police force, Ameyza has served as Aide de Camp (ADC) ranked Lance Corporal and was responsible for the security of former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Having entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the first female DPM then for over a year, Ameyza, who is active in sharing fitness tips on her TikTok account, described Dr Wan Azizah as approachable and easy to talk to.
“It wasn’t difficult to work for her and besides, she is a very good person and places the rakyat at the heart,” she said, noting that she was thankful that she did not experience any untoward incidents while serving Dr Wan Azizah.
Not many understand why she chose this male dominated, death-defying job as personal bodyguard, but for Ameyza, the profession has its own attributes.
Ameyza, who is still single said, a personal bodyguard must be proficient in self-defence techniques including firearms training in order to protect the employer, regardless of whether the employer is female or male.
“This serves as a shield in the event of a threat; as a personal bodyguard, we must be able to save the employer under our protection. When an individual decides to be involved in this field, the boss’ life is crucial and must be given priority above self,” said Ameyza, who served as personal bodyguard to a male businessman since end-2019.
On the differences in terms of job scope in protecting a female and male boss, Ameyza said, if the employer is male, a personal bodyguard should not be too close to him as there are some parameters to consider.
“But if faced with a challenging situation, we need to act accordingly,” she explained.
As a personal bodyguard, she added, she is required to work long hours and also on call 24 hours a day, which means she must be available to work at any time.
"A personal bodyguard looks out for the personal security of individuals such as celebrities or VIPs and escort them. Even if they are holidaying in Malaysia or abroad, we are just like a shadow as we have to follow them wherever they go.
“The job of personal bodyguard starts with the time when her employer steps out of his house. Once he returns home, the personal bodyguard can call it a day. The bodyguard should also be prepared to serve anytime when she is called to work,” she said, adding that she never regretted her decision to take up the profession and is satisfied with the returns as she has been able to provide a home and sponsor an umrah package for her parents.
DREAM OF OPENING OWN AGENCY
Looking ahead, Ameyza harboured a dream of setting up an agency that provides personal bodyguard services. This is because many women are also keen to join this profession but does not know where to start.
“In essence, this job can boost the women’s self-confidence. They can learn something new and have a level playing field as the men. As such, I feel that it is not wrong for me to share my experiences with those who are interested in this profession,” she said.
According to Ameyza, demand for female personal bodyguards is high but due to lack of exposure, many are not aware that the profession can also be dominated by women.
“It is my sincere hope that this job will be among the career choices of Malaysian women. My focus is to help women to have a career,” she said.
At the same time, Ameyza said time and high risk factors caused many women to shy away from this sector.
"For women who are interested in this career, my advice is for them to be prepared to sacrifice their time with their family. Not many would take this route as time spent with the family is limited.
“Perhaps, the career could be an option for single women but not for married ones, especially if their spouses do not understand the characteristics and demands of the profession, in terms of working hours and duties. Mentally and physically, we have to be strong enough to face the challenges ahead,” she said.
Translated by Salbiah Said
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