PUTRAJAYA: Holidaymakers planning to apply for a new passport here were left frustrated as services at the Immigration Department office were temporarily interrupted.
An Immigration official, who declined to be named, said an overwhelming number of applicants caused a delay in the issuance of passports on the same day.
“However, as at 4pm, we did not get any report of any glitch,” he said.
A reader had called The Star to complain that both the Immigration offices in Putrajaya and Pusat Bandar Damansara in Kuala Lumpur were facing technical glitches, leading to many applicants being turned away.
The Star visited Precinct 15 at 2pm yesterday and found more than 100 people crowding the department’s office, with many waiting in the queue to submit their passport applications.
“It is common to have many people applying for a new passport or renewing their passport during the end-of-the year school holidays.
“We will try to accommodate as many applicants as we can but the congestion (during school holidays) is expected,” the official added.
Teacher A. Hamidah, who had accompanied her nephew to apply for a passport, said she had to wait for four hours before receiving the passport at the department yesterday.
“We were told there was a technical glitch at about 11am but operations resumed only about two hours later,” Hamidah said.
Meanwhile, the Immigration Department will extend its operation hours to 10pm at six of its passport branch offices to accommodate customers during the school holidays.
These include the offices at Jalan Duta and Wangsa Maju (Kuala Lumpur), Kelana Jaya and Shah Alam (Selangor), Precinct 15 (Putrajaya) and Setia Tropika (Johor Baru).
The extended hours, which will be implemented from Nov 17 until Dec 31, will be applicable every day, including weekends, except on public holidays.
“Throughout this year, the department has processed and issued as many as 200,000 (on average) Malaysian international passport monthly and the number is expected to increase during the school holidays.
“We advise the public to plan ahead to avoid any inconvenience,” said Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad.
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