PETALING JAYA: A union for immigration department staff has floated the idea of making passports valid for up to 10 years.
“The existing passport booklets can be used, but only the validity period needs to be extended.
“Meanwhile, the existing application and renewal of five-year passports is maintained, and the citizens have a choice,” Immigration Services Union of Peninsular Malaysia (KPISM) president Ajeet Singh said.
He said most countries required a passport to have a validity of at least six months, so Malaysians only get to “enjoy” international travel four years and six months before having to renew their passports.
“More than 100 countries have introduced passports valid for 10 years. Many third-world countries also issue passports for a 10-year period,” Ajeet said.
He said this move would offer the staff some respite, in light of their extensive working hours.
“Immigration officers working in state passport offices and branches are forced to work seven days a week without rest. The welfare of these officers is a matter of great concern to the union.”
On May 16, home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said immigration offices at Kajang, Kelana Jaya and Wangsa Maju would only accept online passport applications and renewals from June 1.
He said the move was aimed at reducing the congestion and waiting time.
Last year, the operating hours at six passport issuing offices and immigration department counters were extended until 10pm, while another stayed open until 6pm.
Former immigration director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud said this was one of the measures to address problems with passport services, apart from increasing the number of staff to handle the application process.