Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail has announced that the Immigration Department will be running a pilot project for its offices in Klang Valley. Soon, certain offices will go “fully online”, in that they will only act as collection centres for those who applied for their passport online.
This is different from how current immigration offices work, where you have the option to either go and apply for a passport in person or collect your passport after you’ve applied and paid for it online through the department’s portal. Saifuddin said the pilot project will be introduced to offices that are struggling to cope with the massive daily crowds.
Specifically, it will start with Klang Valley offices to reduce congestion and waiting time. The minister added that out of 77 passport-issuing offices nationwide, 21 of these experienced severe congestion, although he stopped short of actually naming these specific offices.
The congestion in Klang Valley has gotten so out of hand that earlier this year, select offices were forced to extend their operating hours and even open seven days a week. Some offices in Selangor added kiosks for walk-in customers to apply without needing to go to a counter.
Saifuddin said that there have been as many as 2.8 million passports issued after the pandemic, which is a four-fold increase with no rejections. The situation even prompted the government to form a special task force to figure out methods to reduce congestion in Klang Valley immigration offices.
In mid-January alone, the department issued 156,711 international passports. So far, 45% of people applied for their passports online while 55% were walk-in applicants, so it’s a logical move to push Malaysians into using the online method with this pilot. However, the minister stated that the details are still being fine-tuned with no timeline commitment as to when it might be implemented.
(Sources: FMT, Malay Mail)
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