PUTRAJAYA: Applicants for the new Malaysian polycarbonate passport need to wait for up to 72 hours to get the document, as the Immigration Department tries to resolve glitches involving its production.
Director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad, who disclosed this, said the department was facing teething problems following the installation of new printing equipment required to produce the documents at its offices nationwide.
He said the new passport, issued since last month, featured a biodata page made from polycarbonate.
“If there are no problems, this passport can be produced using the new equipment within an hour. However, it may take up to three days if a problem arises with the system or if the number of applications at any one time is overwhelming,” he told The Star.
Alias was responding to complain ts of delays in the issuance of the new passport, with m any applicants frustrated with the long queues at Immigration offices.
The Government had announced the move to issue the upgraded passports in October last year as the use of polycarbonate for the biodata page in passports had been adopted in many countries to enhance quality and security of the documents.
The department began installing the new equipment at its offices in the middle of April.
So far, 42 Immigration offices, including in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Malacca, Penang and Negri Sembilan, have been equipped with the machines.
The remaining 28 offices will be similarly equipped by the middle of next month.
Apologising to the people for the inconvenience caused, Alias assured that his officers were doing all they could to rectify the glitch.
He said representatives from the vendors would be stationed at some of the department's branches to troubleshoot problems.
“Some of my officers have also been asked to work overtime to ensure that the passports are produced as quickly as possible,” he added.
Alias said that more than 170,000 of the new passports had been issued over the past month with the number of applications expected to rise to 220,000 monthly.
He advised Malaysians planning to travel overseas during school holidays to apply for passports quickly.
“The old passports which have not expired can still be used,'' he said. International passports can be used for up to six months before the expiry date.
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