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Thursday February 5, 2009

Immigration puts travel blacklist online

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians can now go online at www.imi.gov.my to check whether they have been barred by the Immigration Department from leaving the country.

The department has set a target to upload the names within an hour of receiving updates from other government agencies.

Those barred can also contact the department to find out which government agency had issued the order. They can also seek advice on what to do to get their names removed from the blacklist.

Director-general Datuk Mahmood Adam Mahmood said the department was offering the service to save travellers the embarrassment of finding out about the ban at airports.

The department has been testing the system for over a month and is satisfied with it.

Mahmood also said that another service to be provided was issuing reminders seven months ahead of expiry of passports.

He said the seven-month period was chosen because most countries did not allow entry without at least six months of passport validity.

“I hope this move is not misunderstood as trying to force people to renew their passports. Our intention is to just make sure that people are not left stranded after having made all their travel plans,” he told a press conference yesterday.

Earlier, Mahmood reminded department staff to stay clear of wrongdoings as the department would not hesitate to take action including giving them the sack if they repeatedly made mistakes.

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