Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A Passport To Renew

If you were travelling overseas in the 80's you'd have to budget about a week for renewing your passport if it had lapsed or was approaching expiry. One week was for straightforward cases only. Sometimes the Immigration officers were finnicky about something or other, then you'd have had to return another day with some documents like your father's tattered and flimsy colonial era birth-certificate - as had happened to me.

Well, it really helped that I knew the head-honcho at the time was (and still is, by the way) blissfully married to my father's cousin and that he could certainly vouch that my father was 100% Malaysian true and true, and that my application should have been approved without any question at all. After all they had issued the passport in the very first place, so why make a hassle of renewing it? My uncle (in-law) welcomed me with his ever-charming smile and did the necessaries. As I handed my application-form back to the officer said "Your passport will be ready for collection after one week".

Thirty years on, with biometrics technology and computerisation, you can get your passport renewed in a couple of hours only. If you are savvy enough and above 18 years of age, you can submit your application and make the payment via the self-service kiosk located outside the public area. Kiosks are great because they do not flip through the pages of your passport to see where you were born and then decide that you should submit proof that your father is a Malaysian.

Thing is, the machine will do a match of your live fingerprint with that in the passport and I suspect, your MyKad as well. If they do not match (as didn't mine due to the unreadability of my thumb whorls), then go right ahead and join the queue at the information counter to have your application form checked and be assigned a queue number.By the way, hand in a photocopy of your MyKad as well.

Then settle in with an interesting book or just people-watch until your number gets called, at which time quickly proceed to whichever counter the voice told you to go to. There you will have your fingerprint verified against the one in the passport and your MyKad so the computer knows that it's you who has come and not your sister who is your exact replica (like the officer couldn't tell from my photograph).

Anyways you then wait a while more for a cashier to bellow out your name so you could part with your cash - RM100 for 2 years or RM300 for 5 years. I opted for the latter since the kiosk didn't like me and I don't feel like making frequent trips to the passport office.

"Your passport will be ready for collection in about one hour" said the cashier. And so you go and lepak somewhere for that duration while they do things like scanning in your photo into your passport.

I had gone to the Shah Alam office which opens on Sunday mornings till 1pm. It's in Wisma PKNS. Some shops were already opened for business at 10 am and I took the opportunity to have brunch at one of the restaurants there.

Nearing one hour you go back, place your number in a basket at counter no. 1 and wait to get called to sign for your brand new passport.

You shall then marvel that though they may give you a shiny new passport, they certainly know how to age you by 10 years in the scanned photo. As you leave the premises you check your reflection in the nearest sliding door to see if it's true.

16 comments:

Oldstock said...

Yes, the reflection's true... you only think you are ten year younger, hehehe..

Zendra-Maria said...

LOL!!!! Good one Oldstock...

That's the trouble lah... I'm always thinking I am Newstock hehehe...

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Zen,
Why can't they just print a barcode on everyone, then just scan at the gateways? You know...like the microchip I have behind my ears.... purrr....meow!

nurazzah8 said...

Kak Zen,

tengok di blog Azzah ada gambar kita semasa gi kenduri di rumah Kak Ezzah...(eh..takpe ke letak gambar akak? )

nurazzah8

a.j. said...

fuyo. biometric proof. jane doe!

Zendra-Maria said...

Cats, why can't they print a barcode indeed! Maybe tattoo lah.. biar permanent tak payah renew-renew :)

Zendra-Maria said...

Azzah... noted! Takpe print asalkan bukan posing gambar paspot :))

Zendra-Maria said...

Yub, lain kali mungkin diorang simpan data iris mata .... hebat kan?

Tommy Yewfigure said...

ROTHLMAO, Oldstock oh Oldstock, u won't get a jemputan for her son's marriage this year...laugh first laugh last.

Zen, very true if u know the head hancho in any government depts in M'sia, things can be 'kao tim' very efficiently.

If I'm not mistaken, most countries won't allow u to get in if your passport is less that 6 months b4 expiring, true or not?

So u r off to NZ for kiwi fruits like Jimmy Carter ka? :))

Zendra-Maria said...

Tommy... alahai Oldstock was just taking a potshot at me.. if he was nearby I would surely chase him round my taman with my penyapu... hahahah!!!!


Yup, RA needs a break so we'll be driving round South Island. You know of any good Malaysian Restaurant thereabouts?

Tommy Yewfigure said...

no i don't, why la go all the way there looking for M'sian food when u have the best original ones in your own backyard. anyway all Asian food r modified to cater to the 'devils' (kwai) tastebuds...hahaha.

So just the 2 of u? No kids following this time round?

DrSam said...

Honeymoon again kanda? Your entry reminds me to check on my pass-port expiry date (as I'd missed my driving license recently :)

Probably now, with many biotech. gizmos emerging every now and then, we don't need to bring our hard-copy pass-port anymore. Just encode it onto our genetic backbone and got it scanned. Voila!

Nin said...

Did you notice that the govt officers are all nice and smiley faced now? Unlike dulu2... I was actually scared to approach the counter. The last time I went to the Pusat Bandar immigration, the staff were very nice but the jaga scolded me for asking the whereabout of the restroom. "Tu sign besar tu tak nampak?!" complete with I'd-swallow-you-if-I-could look. Aiyooo... gerunn...

Zendra-Maria said...

Tommy... am back from NZ as you know. The only Malaysian food we found was Maggi at a supermarket but the price was something scandalous LOL!!!

Zendra-Maria said...

Dinda - we went to NZ with eldest daughter in tow, so it was quite hard to honeymoon lah .. ;)

Actually carrying passports around is a real pain. I'll be awaiting your invention of this implanted passport... i don't think it's that difficult to do though since implants are quite normal now... especially with celebrities, they say.. hehehe

Zendra-Maria said...

I agree, Lady Nin. The officers are very approachable now, I think the computer systems have made their work very much easier - just let it decide..

Now we must think of how to computerise the jaga's work ... hehehe