Less than half of those who applied for new passports since Covid-19 have travelled overseas

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 08 Apr 2023

Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (right) speaking with Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah during the Iftar KDN Madani at Sunshibe Square banquet hall in Bayan Baru on April 8. — Photo: ZHAFARAN NASIB / The Star

GEORGE TOWN: A total of 2.8 million new passports have been issued so far since the Covid-19 pandemic, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

However, the Home Minister said more than half of them have yet to start travelling with it.

"After the pandemic, applications for passports increased fourfold, leading to congestion especially in Immigration offices within the Klang Valley.

"To date, we have issued a total of 2.8 million passports.

"But so far, only 40% of them have started travelling overseas," he said on Saturday (April 8).

Saifuddin said the rush, especially in larger cities, was among the contributors to congestion, and the Immigration Department had taken steps to alleviate it.

"The office in Perlis only issues between 20 to 30 passports daily, but the amount is multiplied at offices in bigger cities," he said.

"Out of all who applied for a new passport, 45% were online applications but the majority were still walk-ins.

"Our immediate step was to identify 21 offices that often faced congestion and extend their operating hours," he said.

Safuddin said that seeing that some developed cities have achieved full internet penetration, other measures being looked into would be to designate specific Immigration offices to only serve as collection points, but not for ordinary walk-in applications anymore.

"We are planning for selected offices to only process online applications and only serve for collection purposes.

"Those allowed to walk-in would only be for the elderly, disabled and children with their guardians.

"The rationale is that some areas have received full internet penetration such as in Shah Alam, Klang and Damansara," he said, adding that it only takes minutes to complete the registration online and the high number of people who have dones so had proven that it could be done.

Earlier, he and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani broke fast with about 1,000 staff members of various agencies under the ministry at Sunshine Square here.

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