PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department proposed that a fine of RM1,000 be imposed on those who lose their passport for the third time.
Director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said since Malaysian passports were among the most sought-after passports in the world, the government was now considering a heavier penalty on lost passports to thwart would-be forgers.
The proposed penalty is a RM200 fine for the first time, RM500 (second time) and RM1,000 for the third and subsequent times.
"This is not to punish but to teach people to be more responsible with their passports," he told Bernama.
Mustafar said misplacing the passport was the most common excuse given by Malaysians when applying for new ones.
Statistics showed that 22,475 out of 31,287 passport holders who had lost the documents between January and June 2 this year, claimed they could not remember where they had kept them.
A total of 2,858 holders said the passports might have been lost when moving house.
Mustafar said the lackadaisical attitude of the people was among factors contributing to the high number of losses.
"Losing the passports seems to be common, be they in the country or abroad. Losing due to theft is still acceptable but if that occurs frequently, then it is not good," Mustafar said.
He said Johor recorded the highest number of losses involving 5,734 passports, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,399) and Selangor (3,409).
As for cases which occurred overseas, Australia has the highest number with 43 lost passports, followed by Singapore (41), Hong Kong (11) and France (10).
Most of these cases were due to robbery, theft, passports dropping out of pockets and others, said Mustafar.
He added that there was a case where a person claimed to have lost the passport four times.
As such, he urged passport holders to be more responsible with the documents and not keep them all over the place.