*Update 22 June 2022* – A friend of mine attested that he went at 6 pm to Duta branch and there was ZERO queue. He got in and out by 6.15 pm, new passport renewal. That is approximately 2.27% of the waiting time I bloody endured when I went in the bloody morning!!! So just read below for musings of a complete idiot.
So, my passport is expiring in October 2022 so I had the unfortunate task to go and renew my passport. After the horror stories we hear from all over, I thought it’s perhaps good to document this for posterity.
So now, for passport renewal, it’s a hybrid circumstance of renewing online and collecting offline.
The online is found at https://imigresen-online.imi.gov.my/eservices/myPasport
This may change, as time of writing is June 2022.
First, the good – the Online experience is not as excruciating as you’d think. I mean the interface does look like it’s been designed by a five year old kid assisted by his llama, but it seems to be functional, if not aesthetically resembling a dead iguana’s feces. You basically key in all the necessary information in there and I think the biggest challenge you will face is to submit in your passport ‘photo’. These days, everyone is a damn professional so , everyone (including myself) thinks we can take passport photos. I tried. And tried and tried. It’s a work of futility. It’s almost impossible to get the dimensions they want with a selfie. So, you can get someone to take for you, but you can’t have shadows. So, you need to look for the right lighting environment and… for me, I just sort of gave up and wen to the nearest photo studio, paid RM20 and got a bunch of passport photos plus the softcopy photos. After that, I took the softcopy, and in the immigration site, uploaded the softcopy as it is. There are some ‘adjustments’ you apparently need to make but don’t worry about it. You don’t need to zoom and stuff, just make sure the oval circle has your face in it. It’s auto adjusted for you post submission. In fact, I zoomed into my face thinking I was getting the right dimension and submitted – a few days later, they emailed me telling me that my photo was rejected due to dimension.
So, while the instructions are super unclear – just submit the studio shot as it is, put your face in the oval circle – which should fit, unless you have an alien-like structure head and gills on your neck – and you are done. Select the place that you wish to pickup your passport – I selected Duta (KL Headquarters) – which might be a mistake.
Then make sure you make the payment and you will receive the receipt in your email.
Print out the receipt. They will claim that once your passport is ready you will receive another email stating so. Well, you likely will receive an email, in the next cycle of your afterlife. So, yeah, when a Malaysian government agency like immigration tells you to wait for an email, you don’t. In fact, they have already known this email nonsense is fake, because in their receipt, it actually states, if you don’t receive any email, just comelah, after 3 days.
So off I went, like a hero to Duta at around 9.30 the week after that. I went into the front door, went up the escalator and saw this HUGE queue of homo-sapiens in front of the passport office. I said, “This poor suckers must be the ones who are doing walk-ins and not aware of the online application, or just too stupid to know how to do it. Lucky I am so smart.” I sauntered up to the officer and the front and told them I already done everything and I am here to collect, can I go in?
He looked at me and did not even bother saying a word, and just nodded to the queue languidly. I am like, Yeah. But I did everything on line. I am not lining up with these losers who are walking in.
And he said, “This is the line for online collection.”
I kid you not. I was like a hobbit looking in terror as the gates of Mordor was opening and the Nazgul was flying out to eat my head. The line snaked throughout the entire floor to the next wing. It was an awesome and spectacular sight to behold, a true magnificent testimony and legacy on the slowness, inefficiency and general ineptitude of our government agency. It was terrifyingly beautiful, and encapsulated everything we love and detest about Malaysia. This is the Malaysian spirit – the ability to spit in the face of modernization, to stomp at the body of efficiency and to cackle in the presence of good governance. We dare you, modern technology and good intentions to serve the rakyat who pays their taxes – we dare you to ask us to improve from the ways that we have been doing since the stoneage. That is, line up, you useless twit, get in queue and wait for six hours to get your stupid passport done!!
Needless to say, I gave up and left.
2 weeks after that, after I have plucked enough courage again to face this dragon of incompetence, I went to the same place at 7.15 am. I was smart this time. Instead of going in the front door, I went straight to the back, walked up the staircase and quickly got in line. Yes. At 7.15 there was already a queue all the way to the next wing.
So I stood in line for 2 plus hours, before at around 9.30 I finally reached the front of the line. Congratulations you have passed the first level of this game of death by a thousand queues. The past 2 hours was the queue to take the number to the queue. Yes. It was a queue to get a queue number. W.T.F.
Received the queue number, and had close to 50 people in front of me Everyone cramming into the waiting area. Waited till around 11.30 before my turn finally came and I went there, took my thumbprints. To be fair, once you are seated with an officer, the process actually is quite short, less than 10 minutes or so they can process you. They told me to wait another hour for the passport to be processed.
So you still have your queue number but it gets stuck behind another queue to get your passport. And lo and behold, I had another 50 people again in front of me.
At this point, I had no choice but to wait. And Wait.
Finally, at around 1 pm, they called me and it was as if St Michael himself had announced my name at the Pearly Gates. I jumped up from my stupor and went bounding over to the officer, away from all these other losers who were waiting.
They passed my passport to me (It had been available probably for some time) and asked me if I wanted a passport sleeve costing 25RM. I was afraid to say no. It was like Don Corleone asking me if I wanted to buy his protection. Of course I said yes. I was so scared if a no brought further red-tape, or backroom processing. They probably would go, “This bastard said No. Stop the passport processing. Let him wait and rot here for the next 25 hours of his life, this cheapskate idiot.”
So please, just pay whatever this officer wants you to pay and get the flaming heck out of there.
So finally, 1.30 pm I was out. A full six hours of a queue’s version of hell.
Now, how do we avoid this worse case scenario. For one, you could try to go at night. I wasn’t sure Duta was opened but the officer told me yes – just come over here around 6 and note they take a break from 7- 8 before commencing all the way to 10pm. Now this is written in June 2022. Things my have change.
Secondly, you may want to choose another office, like maybe another immigration office in a far off place like Shah Alam, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Melaka, the Moon, or the planet Arakkis. Anywhere except Duta. You maybe could face with smaller crowds there, so I made a mistake opting to take it at the most crowded office in Malaysia.
If you guys are intending to do this passport renewal, good luck and may God be with you all.