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Buck up or face action, Govt warns passport vendor

PETALING JAYA: The Government has ordered the company appointed to supply passports to buck up or face action.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said its performance was being reviewed and warned that action would be taken if it failed to perform its contractual duties.

Newly-appointed Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali is also making the shortage of passports his major priority.

Mustafar pledged to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

“The issuing of passports is one of the department’s core services to the public. Any hiccup or issue must be dealt with quickly and effectively so that the public is not inconvenienced,” he said.

Nur Jazlan said the long queues at passport counters around the country was not the fault of the Immigration Department but that of the vendor who has failed to meet demand.

“We are reviewing the new vendor’s performance. In the meantime, we apologise and ask for the public’s patience,” he said.

Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi ordered an increase to 20,000 passports daily, to meet the shortfall. Until then, the vendor was reportedly only providing between 5,000 and 10,000 passports daily.

Percetakan Keselamatan Nasional Sdn Bhd is the current supplier of the passports while Datasonic Group Bhd is the principal manufacturer of the chips used on the passports.

The data page holds information on the passport bearer.

The company imports the biodata polycarbonate data page which contains the microchip.

Evelyn Wong, 46, was among those who was turned away at Immigration counters after failing to get a number to renew her passport which expires in November.

The irate school counsellor, who intended to travel overseas next month, had arrived at the Kelana Jaya Immigration office at 6.50am yesterday, only to see a queue stretching to the car park.

“I am not happy with the Immigration Department’s crowd management procedures,” said Wong.

She also said there was a couple, whose passports expire in June next year, in the queue ahead of her.

She said it showed that the public was so afraid of delays that they were coming to renew their passports well ahead of time.

Ajeet Kaur, 36, from Taman Medan, also had a similar problem when she tried to renew her son’s passport at the Kelana Jaya and Shah Alam Immigration offices recently.

“We were told they had run out of passports and couldn’t say when new stock would come in,” she said.

Checks around the country showed that the problem was largely in the Klang Valley. Passports were being issued as usual in Johor and Penang.-thestar

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