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10-year passports make sense, say stakeholders

Publish date: Sat, 02 Dec 2023, 09:14 AM

PETALING JAYA: Having Malaysian passports with a 10-year validity period would align with many other Asean countries, say tourism and business stakeholders.

Inbound Tourism Alliance chairman Uzaidi Udanis said increasing the validity period would be good for the Immigration Department as it would reduce crowding at counters for renewals.

“We need to be in line with other countries if we want more visitors to our country.

“This will encourage more people to travel outside.

“When they travel more to other countries, this will lead to an increase in Malaysia-bound flights.

“With more inbound travel, accessibility and tourist arrivals can be improved to spur our tourism market while contributing to the economy,” he said.

Uzaidi said this in response to a recent suggestion from Immigration Services Union of Peninsular Malaysia president Ajeet Singh that passports be made valid for up to 10 years, while maintaining the five-year period as an option.

He said this would reduce congestion at the department while ensuring the welfare of officers, who are often forced to work seven days a week without a break.

The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents deputy president Sheikh Awadh Sheikh Abdullah said a 10-year validity period would have a positive impact.

“I think there are more than 100 countries that have implemented this, so this proposal is something that can be considered,” he said.

He added that the charge for a five-year passport can be retained, while those opting for a 10-year passport can be charged more.

“Sometimes, when you renew via the embassies, it takes much longer, so having a longer expiration date would be beneficial,” he said.

Sheikh Awadh also said a longer lifespan for passports would mean less hassle.

For business folks, the extended period would create greater peace of mind, said SME Association of Malaysia president Ding Hong Sing.

“Sometimes, we have to leave urgently for business purposes and find ourselves in a pickle because our passport has expired.

“So having a 10-year validity period is a good move.

“With Malaysia going digital, this suggestion can be easily implemented. We must be aligned with other countries,” he added.

On May 16, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said immigration offices in Kajang, Kelana Jaya and Wangsa Maju will only accept online passport applications and renewals from June 1.

This was to reduce congestion and waiting times.

At present, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Cambodia have 10-year passports.

The Malaysian passport is valid for five years and requires renewal at least six months before expiration.

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