The High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore has reportedly halted walk-in applications for the renewal of passports, amidst complaints of long queues.
Malaysians allege they were not informed, confusing instructions given
According to Shin Min Daily News, the move reportedly resulted in about 400 people being turned away from the high commission, despite some of them having queued since midnight.
Staff from the premises told the public in the morning that they would not accept people who had not made an appointment.
Several frustrated Malaysians in the queue alleged that they had not been informed about the move in advance.
Meanwhile, an email shared on social media on the same day showed what appeared to be contradictory instructions about how one should book an appointment with the High Commission for passport renewal.
Why are there long queues at the High Commission?
Some Malaysians have speculated that the High Commission has seen a surge of applications for passport renewal as a result of the border closure preventing people from returning to Johor Bahru to do so, The Straits Times reported.
Others said that they were told "technical issues" limited the number of applications that could be processed on a daily basis.
In addition, prior to the rejection of walk-in applications, the High Commission had reportedly set a limit of 30 people since it first re-opened in December 2020, due to the need to adhere to safety measures in the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Applications have exceeded High Commission's capacity: Immigration Director-General
Malaysia's Immigration Director-General, Khairul Dzaimee Daud, confirmed that there was a congestion at the High Commission in Singapore.
He explained that it was due to system disruptions, a sharp rise in applications and the closure of borders, according to Bernama.
He also pointed out that the congestion was partly due to applicants walking in without making an appointment online.
In implicitly suggesting that the demand for applications had exceeded the High Commission's capacity, he said that the immigration office was normally able to process 100 applications.
However, the number of applications has since increased to 350 per day, he highlighted.
With regard to disruptions to the High Commission's system, Khairul added that the Malaysian Immigration Department is currently waiting for approval from the Ministry fo Foreign Affairs to allow staff of Datasonic Group to enter Singapore to carry out repairs.
Top photo by 翁忠明/Facebook