Smoother entry for 100,000

31 Jul 2006   |  ASEAN Migrant Workers   |  Singapore  

Smoother entry for 100,000
Star, Malaysia
June 24, 2006
SINGAPORE
By NELSON BENJAMIN and MEERA VIJAYAN

MALAYSIA and Singapore have resolved the long-standing problem over the use of passports by the 100,000 Malaysians who commute daily to the republic for work and other purposes.

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said the Singaporean authorities had agreed to the following:

  • MALAYSIAN workers only need to show their international passport with their work permit or green card issued by Singapore when passing through the immigration checkpoint.
  • PASSPORTS will not be stamped by either Malaysian or Singaporean Immigration authorities.
  • SINGAPORE will continue to accept Malaysian restricted passports until Oct 31.

Mohd Radzi said the agreement was reached after his meeting with his Singaporean counterpart Wong Kan Seng here yesterday.

\"With this ruling, the fear of passports running out of space is no longer there,\" he told a press conference after the meeting.

As a result, the issue of Singapore recognising the MyKad as a travel document will no longer arise.

Mohd Radzi said the decision would also lighten the work of Johor Immigration Department officers because the number of passport applications would drop.

He said the officers had been processing an average of 1200 applications daily when the capacity was only 750 per day.

\"Many of the officers in Johor had been working late into the night to cope with the huge number of applications,\" he said.

Asked about the status of Malaysians who commute to Singapore but do not hold work permits, like taxi drivers and students, Radzi said they could apply for a frequent traveller card issued by the republic.

\"Their Immigration Automated Clearance System (IACS) card is a smart card which contains the holder’s fingerprint data,\" he said, adding that students and taxi drivers could easily enter Singapore by placing their thumbs on the biometric reader.

On the restricted passports, Mohd Radzi thanked the Singapore Government for agreeing to the extension.

\"I want to remind Malaysians who are still holding the restricted passport not to wait till the last minute to apply for an international passport,\" he said.

The Immigration Department stopped issuing restricted passports from Jan 1 last year.

The response from a random selection of Malaysians to the move to extend the deadline for restricted passports was mixed.

While agreeing that it was helpful to the holders, many said they still expected crowds at the department as Malaysians would wait for the last minute to apply for passports.

\"The mindset will not change. There will be a huge rush in about four months\' time,\" said R. Shaktivel, 39, who works as a senior project manager in Singapore.

Johor Baru-Singapore MBJB Taxi Owners and Drivers Association president Muhamad Najib @ Nagaji Abdul Rahman welcomed the announcement, saying that it was for the best.

Some 200 taxis ply the Causeway daily.

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