PETALING JAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) said existing stocks of about 81,000 Malaysian passport booklets with the old features are expected to be completely used up soon.
He said in one-and-a-half months, all passport holders would be using the new travel document with enhanced security features.
"We have the capacity to produce five million passports a year and we still have not more than 90,000 old passport stock which could still be used but at the same time, we have started issuing the new version passport.
"There are only 81,000 pieces of the old passport left, and the number would be exhausted in one and a half months especially during the current holiday season," he told a media conference after opening a new factory of Datasonic Group Bhd here Thursday.
He said among the new enhanced security features included biometric and facial recognition capabilities and the new passport booklet complied with the standard set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
He said the latest features would ensure the document could not be forged even with the latest technology.
He added that the latest features would also improve the level of efficiency on issuing passport by the Immigration Department.
"For renewal of passport, the Immigration Department will only take 15 minutes after payment had been made, while for new application, it would only take one hour after payment had been made," he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement released today, Datasonic said its new factory had commenced operations to manufacture new passport booklets in October and had so far manufactured almost 650,000 pieces of the document which were rolled out to the people since Nov 15.
It said, the new version of the Malaysian passport with enhanced features such as embedded chip, three coloured security stitching thread and the use of ultraviolet light to verify its authenticity.
"The upgraded design concept, on the other hand, encompasses the Malaysian culture, such as the hibiscus, orchidaceae, red ginger, silver-eared mesia bird and Rukunegara principles," it said.
Last year the group was awarded a RM233.38 million contract to supply passport booklets for five years from Dec 1, 2016 to Nov 30, 2021. – Bernama
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