Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Malaysia - Passport Renewal

We Malaysians have it real good when it comes to passport renewal.. Apart from the fast process (1 hour) ie same day collection, some are able to also renew online which the passport will be ready for collection on next working day..

Our passport photo resembles what the Chinese call, "car head photo", literally translated to mean the photo you use on hearse vehicles, as it is a black and white headshot with absolutely zero touchups.. The officer will only adjust colour contrasts and tones, which they are just doing their job.. Can't fault them..

As my passport would have expired in July 2017, I had to renew it last January.. I couldn't renew my passport online as they say my thumbprint needs to be re-taken at an immigration office..

I took the opportunity to go during the Chinese New Year break on 31 January to renew my passport at the Jabatan Imigresen Negeri Perak (state immigration office) in Jelapang..

I did not go to UTC Perak in the city centre because it being a working day and I knew very well there will not be enough parking in the former Super Kinta building.. Also, I am terrified of the Ipoh morning rush hour traffic, it can be as bad as in Kuala Lumpur!

So I arrived around 7.45am and took my queue number, there was about 11 people ahead of me.. 15 minutes later, my number was called and I went up to the counter and surrendered my old passport and have my photo taken..

People have reported different situations here (working in a travel agency, I've seen quite many passports with different photos, some look really good, some look like the world owes them money):
- no smiling vs smile
- no glasses vs ok to keep it on
- look straight vs looking slightly higher than the camera lens

But one thing is clear, that you have to wear dark colour clothes, or else you can borrow those dirty jackets from the clothes racks that millions would have worn over the years.. which I fail to see the logic behind it (other than the background being white, because as you can see from my photo, my shoulders are barely visible! I was wearing a black polo tee)

After that, proceed to the cashier and pay the fee (RM200 for normal adult citizen).. from here on, the wait is just 1 hour for collection at the next window..

Being in a government building, there's not much things one can do, so everyone just sat there and stared at the window waiting for the officer to call names..

By 8.30am, they started dispensing the newly minted passports, one after another.. By 8.45am, it was my turn and I collected my new passport..

The result?

A horrible ugly picture.

That picture will stay with me for 5 years until January 2022 when it'll due for renewal..


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