(NST) – JOHOR BARU: Those who lose their passports more than once, be warned — the Immigration Department will, from today, delay issuing their new passport for up to three years.
Immigration director-general Datuk Alias Ahmad said the department introduced this ruling to come down hard on those who kept losing their passports. At present, replacement passports are issued within one year. Those who lose their passports for the first time will have to lodge a report with the department and apply for a new one, which will be issued the same day.
Alias said the department was perplexed to receive an average of 3,500 cases of stolen, damaged and misplaced passports every month.
The passport holders came up with all sorts of excuses to justify their new applications, he added.
“However, their excuses become questionable if they lose their travel document repeatedly, say for the second time and more.
“The passport is an important document and should, therefore, be handled with care.
“There are even cases of passports ending up in washing machines.
“Some were torn, stained or have things scribbled on them.
“That really shows how careless the passport holders are.
“As a deterrent measure, be prepared to just stay in the country for up to three years and forget about any trips overseas.” Alias also said his officers would thoroughly question those applying for a new passport after losing their travel document more than once.
Alias declined to elaborate when asked if there were cases of lost passports being sold to a third party for money.
He, however, did not rule out this possibility.
“All passports reported missing will be blacklisted — they will become null and void.
“Those in possession of them will no longer be able to use them to enter or leave the country.” In the past, syndicates sold Malaysian passports to foreigners for huge profits.
These syndicates were said to be willing to buy Malaysian passports for between RM40,000 and RM50,000 each.
On Thursday, it was reported that those who lost their passports or identity cards no longer needed to lodge a police report. All they need to do is to report the matter to the respective departments.