Long queues at Immigration counters

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PETALING JAYA: The recent long queues at the Immigration Department counters in the Klang Valley and Putrajaya have been attributed to an increase in last-minute international passport applications and a temporary technical glitch.

The department’s security and passport director Datuk Mohd Zulfikar Ahmad said the international passport counters at its office in Menara Ikhlas, Putrajaya were swarmed with applications just prior to the Hari Raya school break and again after the five-day break.

He noted that there would usually be an increase in the number of applications during the school holidays when many make plans to travel abroad.

He said the issuance of numbers for those waiting in queue was not fixed and depended on the volume of applications.

 “Although we usually stop issuing queue numbers to applicants at around 3pm, there have been times where we continue to receive applications up to 4pm as there are those requiring to travel abroad on urgent matters,” he said.

On claims that many in the Klang Valley and Putrajaya were unable to apply for their passports since 10am on Monday as queue numbers were not issued, Mohd Zulfikar said this was due to a technical glitch in the system.

“The disruption also affected several branches in the Klang Valley for about an hour until 11am.

“We informed them of the technical problem and asked them to be patient and wait until the situation was rectified,” he said.

He said the issuing of queue numbers resumed at about 11am.

Mohd Zulfikar apologised for the inconvenience caused to those unable to apply for or renew their passports.

He advised those planning to go abroad not to wait till the last minute to renew or apply for their passports.

Under normal conditions, it takes the department about an hour to issue the latest Malaysian passport which contains a poly-carbonate biodata page embedded with a security chip.Mohd Zulfikar said that a total of 1,294,752 international passports were issued between January and June this year. – The Star

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