PUTRAJAYA: The Immigration Department will abolish the Online Appointment System (STO) as well as extend the operating hours of passport issuance offices and counters to overcome problems regarding the application and renewal of the Malaysian International Passport (PMA).
Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud announced that the STO for all passport issuance offices outside the Klang Valley would be abolished from May 9, while in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Johor Bahru, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka from May 16.
"Those who have received an appointment date through STO from May 16 no longer need to follow the given date," he said in a statement on Friday (April 29).
Khairul Dzaimee also announced that all passport issuance offices in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya, Johor Bahru, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka would operate every Saturday from 8am to 1pm beginning May 14.
Apart from that, the operating hours of immigration counters at the Urban Transformation Centres (UTC) in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor Bahru would be extended to 10pm starting May 16.
Khairul Dzaimee said the difficulties faced by Malaysians were due to the sharp increase in passport application and renewal following the reopening of the country's borders from April 1, causing the online system to be congested.
He said a total of 151,173 passports were issued nationwide from April 1 to 26.
On average, he said 8,000 passport applications were received daily, an increase of about 40% compared to before the reopening of borders.
Khairul Dzaimee said new applicants, senior citizens, people with disabilities, students, children and applicants who would perform the haj can go straightaway to the counter in Putrajaya.
"However, for PMA renewal applications, the Putrajaya Passport Office will only process applications made online and those who have received notification via email," he added. - Bernama