Immigration ready for reopening of borders, says DG

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): The Immigration Department is ready once the nation's borders reopen, says its director-general Datuk Khairul Dzaimee Daud.

"If the government decides to open the country's borders anytime soon, Immigration will be ready," he told Bernama on Wednesday (Oct 6), adding that this was in terms of systems, passport supply and manpower.

He said that they have some 1.2 million passports in stock, which is enough to cope with demands until June next year.

Preparations have also been made at all entry points and autogate systems reactivated after being a hiatus of about two and a half years.

"In terms of manpower, officers and personnel have been remobilised for duty as to how it was before Covid-19," he said.

Khairul Dzaimee also checked on the Malaysian International Passport (PMA) online pilot project at Immigration headquarters here, which offered self-service counters and officers to help online applicants since Oct 1.

He said online passport applications had increased this year, with 69,371 applications received up to September, compared to 52,016 in 2020.

He said passport online applications increased in the middle of this year following flexibility given in the MyTravelPass category, adding that the numbers are expected to increase further once borders are reopened.

On Oct 3, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government would allow people to go abroad without having to apply for the My Travel Pass once 90% of the country's adult population had been vaccinated.

Khairul Dzaimee said the online application self-service counters would be expanded to all Immigration offices nationwide for passport renewals.

Passport applicant Amira Syahirah Mohd Zulkefli said the online application process was user friendly and took less than 30 minutes.

"It was relatively a simple process. I filled up the particulars required at the special counters available and less than 30 minutes later, my passport was ready.

"I am now waiting for the government to announce the reopening of the country's international borders as I need to travel to Belgium to conduct equestrian training," the 27-year-old trainer said.

Azhar Marzuki, meanwhile, believed that online transaction services should be expanded to other agencies as well as it was not only simple to use but also convenient.

"The Immigration's online system is really good as we can use it via our devices anywhere, and then choose a date and time to pick up the passport. For working people, this means we do not have to apply for a full day's leave," he said. – Bernama

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