PETALING JAYA: The online system for application and renewal of passports is expected to resume next month.
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said it was studying several new features including enhancing its security and efficiency.
He said the features would speed up the passport application and renewal processes, besides providing a safe and efficient service to the public.
“The online passport system is not new, it was put on hold because there were some technical issues that needed to be overcome.
“It is now safer, more efficient and will ease crowding at the counters,” he told mStar Online, The Star’s Bahasa Malaysia portal.
Mustafar added that improving the passport application and renewal processes was one of the priority tasks of the department.
The department’s security and passport director Datuk Mohd Zulfikar Ahmad said the new and upgraded software overcame the technical issue related to the uploading of applicants’ photos, to ensure a smoother process.
“It also requires a biometric registration process to verify the applicants,” he added.
Mohd Zulfikar said the new system would undergo “user acceptance testing” (UAT) before it was fully implemented.
Fomca welcomed the move by the department to introduce the online service.
Its deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said the applicants’ data was stored by the department.
“Hence, they should not need to do the whole process all over again if it’s just to renew their expired passport.
“Rather than having to line up and wait for the whole process, applicants can just come and pick up their passport, which also reduces the queues at Immigration offices in the country,” he said.
Senior citizens and mothers with small children also welcomed the move.
“It’s very helpful because I don’t have to worry about keeping my baby entertained while waiting,” said Suraya Usamah, 21, who has a baby daughter.
Senior citizen Kesavan Keecha has never used online banking, but is willing to try online passport renewal.
“It would be very helpful and we can get help from our children,” said the 60-year-old retiree.
A week ago, they were among the unlucky folks at the Kelana Jaya Immigration office hoping to get their passports renewed, only to be sent home disappointed.
But yesterday morning, to Kesavan’s surprise, within an hour of going into the office, he and his wife were clutching their brand new passports.
“I went there thinking there was no way I could get it done, but to my surprise, we got our passports within an hour,” said a visibly happy Kesavan.
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