KUALA LUMPUR: It is good that the government is studying the possibility to extend the validity of passports from the current five years to ten as it could benefit the people, says Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.
The Alliance for a Safe Community chairman hoped to see a positive decision on the matter soon.
"Many countries – notably the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and Singapore – have long been issuing passports of 10-year validity.
"The advantages of a 10-year validity far outweigh the possible downsides. Lengthening passport validity reduces the frequency of renewals, making it more convenient for the people.
"This can also help reduce the workload at passport offices and streamline the application process," he said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 5).
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Extending passport validity can potentially save citizens money and effort in the long run, as they won't have to renew their passports as frequently, he added.
"A ten-year validity can be seen as a sign of stability and confidence in a nation's government. This can positively impact diplomatic relations and international perception.
"The Home Minister said that the availability of online passport applications has reduced congestion at Immigration centres and it can be further reduced by extending the validity period and lead to cost savings and more efficient resource allocation.
"Longer passport validity means fewer passports printed over time, which can contribute to environmental benefits," he said.
Admittedly there are some downsides too, he said the longer a passport is valid, the more time there is for counterfeiters or identity thieves to exploit it.
Security features must continually evolve to counteract this risk, Lee added.
It was reported that the government will study a recent proposal to have Malaysian passports with a 10-year validity period.