2-hour passport: Fast service in Langkawi proves a success

Source: http://www.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/7/21/nation/14848071&sec=nation&focus=1

Friday July 21, 2006

2-hour passport: Fast service in Langkawi proves a success

EXCLUSIVE
By M. KRISHNAMOORTHY

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians will be able to get their international passports from the Immigration Department within two hours.

This follows the success of a pilot project on the fast-track service in Langkawi three months ago.

Next month, the two-hour passport service will also be available at a new office at the Home Affairs Ministry complex in Malacca.

And the icing on the cake is that the new office will remain open during weekends to handle applications.

Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat said the fast issuing of passports was made possible with the introduction of new digital passport printing machines.

This has improved the department’s customer service for Malaysians who will be able to get their passports quickly and on weekends as well, he told The Star in an interview.

The Malacca Home Affairs Ministry complex will house the various departments and agencies of the ministry under one roof. Families can spend a weekend in Malacca and get their passports and even MyKad done, said Aseh.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is expected to open the new complex and the one-day passport issuing and renewal service in Malacca next month.

The new digital passport printing machines have already been installed in Malaysia’s overseas missions in Singapore, London and New York.

The High Commission in Singapore was the first to use it last month to issue the new passports, which come with an additional hologram security feature.

Three other overseas missions will be equipped with this machine in stages.

Immigration director-general Raja Azahar Raja Abdul Manap said passport applications could even be processed on the spot if the online link with the National Registration Department (NRD) records was up.

If the data can be verified with the NRD, the new passport can be issued immediately, said Raja Azahar.

He said Malacca was chosen as the first place locally to offer the service because it was a tourist destination.

We are introducing the new digital passport printing machines at the less crowded offices to popularise them first.

Raja Azahar said the self-service kiosks introduced by the department for renewal of passports would continue to be used at offices that are yet to be equipped with the new machines.

Last year, one million passports were issued to Malaysians, he added.