GEORGE TOWN, April 8 — The Malaysian Immigration Department (JIM) has issued as many as 2.8 million passports since post-Covid-19, which is a four-fold increase, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

He said of that number, 45 per cent applied for passports online which only took three minutes, following which applicants could collect their passports after two to three days.

“Everyday, immigration has to contend with crowds and (it) is also facing congestion but not at all of its offices since the end of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the opening of the border, for example in Perlis the immigration department issues 20 to 30 passports everyday but in Damansara, Shah Alam and Kelana Jaya, we issue (passports) many times over... where there is congestion.

“Since post-Covid-19, we have issued almost 2.8 million passports and not a single one of the applications has been rejected, of which 45 per cent applied online while the rest appeared in person at the immigration office. Of that number (2.8 million passports), 40 per cent have no plans (only for keepsake) to leave the country while the rest travel (overseas),” Saifuddin Nasution said here tonight.

His comments came after attending the Home Ministry (KDN) MADANI Implementation of Virtuous Values and Iftar ceremony, which also saw the attendance of Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, Immigration director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh and Penang police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain.

Saifuddin who is also Pantai Jerejak state assemblyman said JIM will also introduce a pilot project to overcome congestion at the passport issuing offices which are always crowded by only opening online applications and subsequent passport collection because the rationale is that there is widespread internet coverage in the area.

“This pilot project is being fine-tuned and we will implement it after everything is finalised and for starters, it will involve the passport issuing offices in the Klang Valley which are often congested locations and it may then be expanded to other places.

“We have 77 passport-issuing offices across the country and since 21 of that experienced severe congestion, we had to increase working hours including Saturdays and Sundays. This helped ease the congestion at the said locations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin Nasution said the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) receives 395,000 complaints nationwide every month and police are doing their best to solve them while there is no question of turning down any complaint received.

“Often in my discussions with the Inspector-General of Police, I always emphasised that police must take immediate action on complaints involving national security issues and also issues that impinge or deemed insulting religion, race, country, and royal institutions. We also do not overlook the usual complaints such as crime or index (serious) crime.

“We take note of all complaints and we are determined to investigate all complaints... this is also the usual courtesy and respect upheld in KDN agencies including PDRM,” he said. — Bernama