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Friday December 30, 2005

Mad rush to beat the deadline


PETALING JAYA: Malaysians again displayed their attitude of postponing tasks until the 11th hour, crowding National Registration Department (NRD) offices nationwide to apply for the free MyKad. 

Because of the huge number of applicants trying to beat the deadline, the NRD office in Putrajaya closed at 3.30am yesterday as staff burned the midnight oil to clear applications.  

Counters re-opened at 8am.  

UNRULY CROWD: People jostling past a security guard to enter the federal building compound in Penang the moment the gates were opened just before 8am yesterday.
NRD director-general Datuk Mohd Abdul Halim Mohamad said he had no choice but to ask his staff to work until the applications were cleared. 

“It is unfortunate that many people had delayed their applications until the last minute,” said Abdul Halim who was still attending to the public at Putrajaya at 10pm.  

“We cannot say much about their attitude. It is still our duty to serve those who apply, even at this juncture. 

“We hope they will not do this again as it puts pressure on my staff.  

“Tonight (last night), the staff are expected to work until midnight. 

“I will be here with them because more people are coming after work to apply for MyKad.”  

At the NRD office in Petaling Jaya, the queue extended more than 200m outside the office, up to the PJ Hilton.  

Some early birds such as accounts supervisor Anne Chong who arrived at 5.30am found an already long line.  

Chong, 36, said there were already more than 100 people ahead of her. 

“When the gate opened at 8am, people started queue-jumping and pandemonium broke out.  

“There was even a minor accident because no one was controlling the crowd. Some people who came later pushed their way forward and ahead in line.” 

Retiree Johnny Low, 54, said he went to the NRD office here two months ago but could not get a number as it had already issued the limit of 200 numbers a day. 

However, he was lucky enough to get a number yesterday as over 500 were issued.  

“I was here at 5.30am but got number 354 because people were jumping queue,” said Low. 

Another retiree Lee Geok Mooi, 48, said she sustained minor bruises as people were pushing and shoving to get to the counter. 

NRD public relations officer Jainisah Mohd Noor said counters in Putrajaya, state head offices and several branches will open tomorrow from 8am to midnight to cater to the crowds.  

 

Related Stories:
Abusive bunch forces Kepong branch to call in cops
A special counter for disabled and elderly
Last minute again
 

Stories by BY M. KRISHNAMOORTHY, V.P. SUJATA, CELESTE FONG, EMMELINE TAN and RENITA CHE WAN
Pictures by RAJA FAISAL HISHAN, K.T.GOH and ABD RAHMAN EMBONG
 

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