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.