PUTRAJAYA, June 10 — The Malaysian Immigration Department is forming a special team to handle only online applications for passport renewals.

Immigration director-general Datuk Seri Khairul Dzaimee Daud said they’re in the midst of testing the project and will soon implement it in the Klang Valley.

“We started in Johor by placing eight immigration officers from other states there and their task is to only give approvals and nothing else.

“We could start this as soon as next week as we are still in the midst of finding the officers we can place in Klang Valley,” said Dzaimee during a press conference at Putrajaya today.

Malaysians have had to endure several hours in long queues from the early morning just to get a waiting number and then wait another few hours to be served at immigration depots throughout the country.

Klang Valley was especially hit badly when videos and images circulated on social media where citizens complained about the service and slow wait times to renew passports with some making several trips to get their passports renewed.

One of the issues was taking new pictures for the passport.

In order to speed up the process Dzaimee said they were mooting allowing those aged 30 and above to use their existing picture and not needing a new one.

“We’re studying the feasibility of allowing Malaysians aged above 30 to use the same picture in the system without the need to upload a new one,” said Dzaimee.

“As for renewals through post we still don’t allow it as the passports are high value items.

“That’s why sometimes it takes longer (to renew) as we need to authenticate these documents,” he added.

Meanwhile the immigration department managed to cripple a fake passport syndicate run by a Bangladeshi with permanent residency status in Malaysia.

During the raid two days ago they managed to catch six individuals including the mastermind behind the syndicate, and confiscated 488 fake passports and around RM2 million in cash.

Of the confiscated passports 457 were Bangladesh passports, eight from Indonesia, India and Pakistan, six Myanmar passports and one from Nepal.

Those arrested were aged between 36 and 52 and they are being charged under the Immigration Act 195/63.