My Kiwi colleague was amused and asked if Malaysia belongs to a THIRD WORLD country!
I remember FIVE years ago, we went through the same angst!
Five years ago I complained to Jeff Ooi and he blogged my pain in his Screen Shot's "Wisma Putra Blues" entry.
"Citizen CY Leow, who has been residing in Kiwiland as a Permanent Resident in order to school his two daughters, never realised renewing his Malaysian passport at the Wellington Malaysian High Commission in the New Zealand capital can be so 'third world'.
He shares his bitter experience.
About time someone brought this up!" said Jeff and that was five years ago!
Objects of angst!
Five years ago we were told by the "passport lady" that our renewal "might take longer" because "we missed the diplomatic bag". When asked, she said that they only send their "BAG" once a month!
Five years later, we were not told "we missed the bag" BUT it still took ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE days to get our passports!
Five years ago, when asked again why it take so long, the passport lady said KL are SHORT-HANDED in processing passport renewal!
Five years later, I suppose they are still short handed?
Where is progress??
The old (right) and the new Malaysian passport. Notice the symbol for biometric passports on the cover of the newer passport.
According to Wikipedia...
Malaysia was the first country in the world to issue biometric passports in 1998, after a local company, IRIS Corporation, developed the technology.
Malaysia is however not a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and its biometric passport does not conform to the same standards as the VWP biometric document because the Malaysian biometric passport was issued ahead of the VWP requirement.
The difference lies in the storage of fingerprint template instead of fingerprint image in the chip, the rest of the technologies are the same. Also the biometric passport was designed to be read only if the receiving country has the authorization from the Malaysian Immigration Department.
No prize for telling where the biometric chip is ;)
The biometric data included on the Malaysian passport is a digital photograph of the bearer's face, and images of their two thumbprints. Malaysian immigration checkpoints were the only ones with the technology to read and authenticate the data from the RFID chip using a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition technology, but widespread adoption of ePassport technology around the world has seen the technology installed in international airports in the USA, the UK and other countries.
In addition to biometric data and the personal information stored on the information page, the chip also records the bearer's travel history of the last ten entry and exits at Malaysia border control points.
Concern about possible "cloning" of the data from the passport chip for the purposes of identity theft prompted IRIS to issue a press release in 2006, stating that the chip and data had never been successfully cloned, and that digital keys stored on each chip made such duplication and forgery impossible.
On February 2, 2010, Malaysia started issuing ICAO compliant e-Passport, valid for five years or two years, replacing the current one. It is the 75th nation in the world to adopt the ICAO standard.
The implementation of the new passport begins at offices across Klang Valley, Johor and Pahang before expanding nationwide between March and May 2010 and to foreign mission abroad between July and August 2010.
Famous Last Words...
All that high tech implementations, how about speeding up a low tech procedures and make passport renewal faster?