KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysians with plans for overseas trips this holiday season may have to wait up to a few hours for their passport applications, following a slowdown in the system.
A check at the Immigration Department headquarters in Jalan Duta showed many applicants waiting for their turn at the counter all day yesterday.
One of them was taxi driver Abdul Khapis Mustapha, 42, who waited for five hours before he collected four passports at about 3pm.
"I arrived at 9.30am, but I was only called to the counter hours later as the lines were long.
"When I completed the payment, I was told that I have to wait another two hours before I can collect my passport," he said.
Abdul Khapis was collecting passports for his family members, whom he planned to take on a holiday to Thailand next month.
Beautician Arlyna Yu, 19, was also unsure of her waiting time, as she had not been told how long it would take to process her passport.
"This is my first time applying for a passport. I was told it could be done in an hour, but I think I will have to wait a while," she said.
A department official told The Star that there had been issues with the passport processing system since the new polycarbonate passport was introduced in April.
"When that happens, we cannot even release completed passports, let alone process new applications," she said.
However, the official noted that they tried to finish the process within 24 hours at the latest.