The crowd at the immigration offices continues as Malaysians rush to renew their passports after the country’s borders reopened.
Recently, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi shared several photos of the long queue at the Ministry of Home Affairs complex in Setia Tropika, Johor Bahru, where people started queuing as early as 7.10 am.
Many had the same mindset of arriving early and getting it done earlier, thus causing a long queue outside the entrance of the complex.
The photos showed people queuing at the curb and some who were sitting down outside the complex.
According to Bernama, Nur Hazwan Sharifulazman, who works in Singapore, said he arrived at 7.50 am but the queue was already 400m long from the complex entrance.
He said was at the immigration office to inquire about his passport, which had already been renewed online.
Hazwan said that people had to get a number at the entrance before entering the complex. After that, they had to take another queue number at the relevant counter.
“Around 8 am, an immigration officer began handing out queue numbers and I was lucky enough to get the number,” he said.
However, he still had to wait for 4 hours before entering the building to get another queue number before entering the immigration office.
In this regard, he urged that the relevant parties involved to improve the queue management as those waiting in line involved senior citizens and parents with small children.
Another visitor at the immigration office, Nasiruddin Md Nazim was in line to renew his passport. He said that although the process to renew the passport was done online, we still have to collect the passport at the counter.
Meanwhile, he share that he was in the queue to seek information on whether his passport was ready as there was no confirmation from the immigration office
In response to the issue, Onn Hafiz said this matter has existed since 1 May following the reopening of international borders on 1 April.
He explained that before reopening the borders, an average of 700 international passports were issued per day. However, the number increased to 1,000 and 1,800 in April and May, respectively.
He also shared that 9 other passport offices in the state, including the Mersing office which only had two to three counters, were affected.
Meanwhile, State Immigration Department director Baharuddin Tahir said those waiting in line were comprised of people who wished to renew their passports, as well as others who had matters to tend to in another department housed in the same complex.
This issue was brought to the Menteri Besar, prompting his team to improve the passport renewal process.
“The Menteri Besar agreed to help by setting up tents and providing chairs and fans for people waiting,” said Baharuddin.