Proposal for Heavy Penalties for Lost Passports

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Currently, you pay no penalty for replacing your lost passport but just the cost of applying for a new passport. That may change soon.

Statistics:

  • Number of passports lost (in 2016) – 44,528
  • Forgot where passport was kept (top reason) – 22,475 (out of 31,287 losses this year)
  • State with highest number of passports lost – Johor (5,734)
  • Country where most number of passports lost – Australia (43)

The Immigration Department has proposed fairly hefty penalties – RM200 fine for the first time, RM500 for the second time and RM1,000 for the third and subsequent times.

Director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said the government was considering the heavier penalties to thwart would-be forgers as Malaysian passports were among the most sought-after in the world.

“This is not to punish but to teach people to be more responsible with their passports,” he said.

Mustafar said the proposal had been forwarded to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also home minister.

He said Zahid had agreed to it in principle and it was expected to be enforced after the government’s approval and amendments made under the Fees Act.

“So far there is no penalty imposed on those who lose their passport compared to those who lose their identity cards for the first, second and third time,” Mustafar said.

Currently, the penalties imposed for the loss of identity cards is RM100 for the first time, RM300 for the second and RM1,000 for the third and subsequent times.

Based on immigration statistics, a total of 44,528 cases of lost passports were reported nationwide in 2016.

Misplacing the passport was the most common excuse given by Malaysians when applying for new ones, according to Mustafar.

Statistics showed that 22,475 out of 31,287 passport holders who had lost the documents between January and Jun 2 this year, alleged they forgot where they had kept them.

A total of 2,858 holders claimed the passports might have been lost when moving house.

Other reasons for the loss of passports included leaving it behind in public transport, slipping from a bag or pocket, being stolen or robbed, losing it during a fire or natural disasters.

Mustafar said the apathetic attitude of the people was among factors contributing to the high number of losses.

“Losing the passports seems to be common, be they in the country or abroad. Losing due to theft is still acceptable but if that occurs frequently, then it is not good,” Mustafar said.

He said Johor had the highest number of losses involving 5,734 passports, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,399) and Selangor (3,409).

As for passports lost overseas, the highest number was in Australia with 43, followed by Singapore (41), Hong Kong (11) and France (10).

Most of these cases were due to robbery, theft and passports dropping out of pockets, said Mustafar.

He added that there was a case where a person alleged to have lost the passport four times.

As such, he urged passport holders to be more responsible in taking care of their passport as it was a document with high value.