I AM a Malaysian currently residing and working in Singapore and have been unable to return home to Johor Baru since the movement control order began in March. My passport will be expiring soon so I applied online to renew it. The procedure is that after we have successfully completed the application and made the payment online, we need to email the Immigration Department at the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore to set up an appointment.
Trying to renew a Malaysian passport online has turned out
to be an extremely onerous and frustrating process. Firstly, the system constantly rejected the photo specifications even after professional photo-taking services were used. The algorithms for the photo specification need to be corrected for an easier and more accurate process.
After that hurdle, the payment option either kept throwing up technical problems or all the banks were offline. It took another couple of days of constant attempts before I finally got through with the payment.
After sending an email to the Immigration Department at the high commission with all the relevant information and a copy of the payment receipt, waiting for a reply with an appointment seems to be never-ending. It has been weeks with no reply forthcoming. I have even resorted to sending a fresh email daily.
Most Singapore work passes expire in tandem with the expiry of our passports, so this adds
further stress and anxiety to the situation. I sincerely ask if my problem can be rectified soon and the entire process made faster in future.
Many of my Malaysian colleagues here in Singapore whose passports are expiring soon seem to be facing the same predicament. Should we decide to return to Malaysia to renew our passports, there is no guarantee that our Singaporean employers would still have the same jobs waiting for us after an absence of more than a month. The quarantine protocols of both countries alone would take about three to four weeks to fulfil and would also entail substantial expense on our part.
I realise the current Covid-19
situation has stressed local and overseas government agency resources but I sincerely hope this situation can be rectified.
The online application links can be substantially improved, and email and other online exchanges can be remotely handled from Peninsular Malaysia. Maybe Putrajaya could also add staff members at its high commission in Singapore to handle these duties. I believe the ratio of overseas Malaysians would be the highest in Singapore by a few folds in relation to the nearest competing country.
May God bless our beloved Malaysia.
AJ ,Johor Baru/Singapore