Source: Dept should have anticipated surge of renewals

PETALING JAYA: With six million passports having expired during the Covid-19 pandemic, a surge of renewals was almost certain after travel limits were lifted and the Immigration Department should have expected the crowd, says a source.

The overcrowding at Immigration offices for passport renewals could have been prevented if pre-emptive steps were taken, the source said.

“When borders were reopened, the department should have expected that people would renew their passports,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Malaysia had reopened its borders on April 1, 2022, the source pointed out, adding that “now we are in 2023. It is about managing the crowd.”

A structured plan should have been in place, added the source.

Since the current government had put reforms as a priority, the Immigration Department should be at the top of the list, the source said.

“A department that is providing services to the public should continue to improve. Those managing the department should listen to the public instead of the usual way of taking action only when something is pointed out,” the source said.

Since Malaysia reopened its borders, The Star has been reporting on overcrowding at passport offices and other issues faced by those who want to get their passports done.

Aside from long queues and being unable to obtain an appointment number due to a daily limit, there were complaints about difficulties using the online system too.

In addressing the overcrowding, 20 passport-issuing offices have been operating daily since Jan 27.

The department has also revised the operating hours for all offices and branches to cater to the higher number of applicants.

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