System disruptions and a sharp rise in applications led to the congestion experienced by visitors to the Malaysian Immigration Department office in Singapore today, said director-general Khairul Dzaimee Daud.
He said a passport-printing machine had broken down, making it difficult for people to renew their international passports at the office, located in the Malaysian High Commission.
The congestion was also due to walk-in applicants who did not make appointments through the Online Appointment System and the Covid-19-induced border closures, which made it difficult for Malaysians to renew their passports in Johor Baru or other branches of the department.
“We are waiting for approval from the Singapore Foreign Ministry to allow staff of Datasonic Berhad to enter the country to carry out repair work.
“Malaysians in Singapore are advised to renew their passports online, and applications will be processed and printed within four to five weeks,” he said in a statement today.
He said priority in renewing passports is given to Malaysians who needed to extend their work permits in the near future.
Khairul said the implementation of compulsory quarantine in Malaysia for 10 days and Singapore for 14 days also made it difficult for Malaysians to renew their passports at the department’s branches.
“Usually, the immigration office in Singapore is able to process 100 passport renewal applications a day, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, the application process has been increased to 350 applications a day.
“Over the course of this week, online renewal applications have increased from 200 to 450 a day, with most applicants turning up without making an appointment through the Online Appointment System,” he added.