Renewing Malaysian passport overseas is a bitch

July 11, 2006 8:42 AM

Yes I concur.

Jeff Ooi has posted up an email from CY Leow about his woes of trying to renew his Malaysian passport in New Zealand. His general sentiments can be summed up by this:

Thanks for screwing up our holiday plan, Malaysia BOLEH!!

I have gone through similar though not as hellish of an experience – fearing the loss of the passport through back and forth mailings was my biggest concern. However I now know that if you renew it in Malaysia proper, it takes 2 days and not the typical 3-4 months if done overseas. I wrote about it previously too.

So to sum up my thoughts about Mr. Leow’s experience: he has my sympathies for having his vacation ruined, but if the vacation to see his daughter in Canada was that important he should have just taken a side trip to KL and got it renewed.

But the pertinent question is: why should he? What is the point of the Malaysian High Commissions in the countries that we are residing in?

Not quite first world yet.

10 thoughts on “Renewing Malaysian passport overseas is a bitch

  1. Rob

    mate travelling with a malasian passport to the US is a bitch these days. My brother-in-law was detained, harrassed and interrogated for 2 hours while he was just in transit to Canada. because of this he missed his connecting flight and the US airline he was flying on lost his lugguage (sending it to Alaska!). the only basis of the interogation was that he was a malaysian passport holder and apparently the US now considers malaysia as a major source of Islamic terrorists because it is a muslim country (logic so simplistic, it’s current president should be proud).
    Never mind the fact that A) he’s been living in Australia for the past 10 years and is an Australian resident. B) he is a christian chinese malaysian. C) he is a specialist doctor and has better things to do with his time than blow himself up. D) Malaysia is the most progressive Muslim country in the world and shouldn’t be lumped in the same league as Afganistan, Sudan and Pakistan.
    the whole incident is a disgrace and show how far the world has degraded.

  2. mooiness Post author

    Rob: well that’s the reality of the world but one problem at a time. 😉

    Leonard: already renewed last year when I went back lah, you never read my link in the post meh!? Heh.

  3. leanne

    hahaha!! Dude this post is so true. 2 days in KL or 2-3months in melbourne –> canberra –> KL –> sit on some guys desk for weeks –> canberra –> melbourne. by which time my friends had all left to go overseas, leaving me behind in melbourne to work. blahh.

    nice blog, too. very informative and entertaining 🙂

  4. Oliver Loi

    Malaysian Passport, unlike other major Passports does not have differentiated fields for SURNAME and GIVEN NAME. As an important identification document while abroad especially in Western Countries, the non-existent field for SURNAME poses some potential difficulties. Let me give my own example.

    My Full Name is the MALAYSIAN PASSPORT is:

    Being a Malaysian Chinese, I know and so do my family members that my Surname is LOI. With the Western / English Given Name placed before my SURNAME and Chinese Given Name(s) after my SURNAME, my SURNAME is in the MIDDLE. This format of naming convention is occassionally called the Hong Kong Hybrid System. This format is very common in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam for ethnic Chinese that are given both Western/Non-Chinese and Chinese Given Name(s).Elsewhere, this format is relatively unknown or at best poorly comprehended.

    In early January 2006 this year, my name as it appears in my Malaysian Passport becomes “problematic” when I applied for New Zealand Overseas Driver Licence Conversion. In the form that I had to fill; I gave my SURNAME as LOI and my GIVEN NAME(S) as OLIVER CHEE SIUNG. The Driver Licensing Agent representative after consultaion with Land Transport NZ Authority Customer Service Representative (over the phone) declined to process my application initially and demanded more documentations to explain why my SURNAME is in the Middle. In Documents issued in Western Countries, SURNAME is either placed at the FIRST or placed LAST but Never in the middle and Photo ID Cards very often have diiferentiated name fields for SURNAME AND GIVEN NAME . I even showed them my Work Visa issued by NZ Immigration Service that clearly states my Family/Given Names as LOI, OLIVER CHEE SIUNG. I also went to obtain a letter from NZ IMMIGRATION SERVICE confirming that my name order as it appears in the MALAYSIAN PASSPORT is the cultural practice of ethnic Malaysian Chinese. All was in vain as Land Transport New Zealand representative thought they (the documents) were still insufficient as they could only accept details from the Passport Identity Page as their Primary Evidence of Identity. Undeterred, I also approached the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington for Assistance. It took almost 2 weeks for the Land Transport NZ Authority to deliberate based on whatever documents I had submitted to them to “permit” me to have LOI as my Family Name on NZ Driver Licence. My NZ Driver Licence was finally issued with correct details on 30 January 2006.

    Months have passed but that experience traumatised me deeply. Although Malaysian Passport is MRP and MyKad are hi-tech; as long as there are no differentiated fields for Surname and Given Name; names which are similar in format to mine can be very problematic.

    In retrospect, I am glad when I first applied for a Visa to New Zealand as an International Student in 1997, I put my Given Names as Oliver Chee Siung and not as many other Malaysian Chinese with similar name format would: Chee Siung Oliver, and my Family Name as Loi. However, I am very irritated by Malaysian Airlines Enrich Frequent Flyer Membership Databse that has my Given Name as Chee Siung Oliver. They (Malaysia Airlines) do this almost by system default without consultation. If my NZ Visa has Chee Siung Oliver as my Given Names; I will not be addressed as Mr Oliver Loi by Kiwis but Mr Chee Loi. Imagine that!

    My fear for the future is if one day Malaysian Passport would include a Surname field, Malaysian Immigration would either insist my whole Chinese Name LOI CHEE SIUNG or SIUNG as Surname in the name of consistence with My Kad and other Malaysian Legal Documents. Hopefully, that does not happen. Imagine the ramifications and implications on the so many Malaysian Chinese residing abroad.

  5. Oliver Loi

    Malaysian High Commission deserves my praise. High Commission in Wellington is an important institution for Malaysians working, studying and living in New Zealand. It has assisted me in past and continues to do so. I spoke to the 2nd secretary today and he is one of the most polite and friendliest man I have come across. Thumbs Up to you!

    This is an afterthought of my earlier post. I think the Western World should also be ready to embrace the naming conventions of wide range of cultures. Differentiated fields for Surname and Given Name in Passport should be a non-issue. Countries that have a Single Name Field in their passports should be able to continue this practice. After all, having differentiated fields for name in passport will not prevent identity fraud.

    Countries like Malaysia and Singapore have very good National ID system and each bearer is given a unique ID Number and it is this number that will be most important for identification purposes. MyKad is a far more superior documentary evidence to eastablish identity compared to other available Photo ID systems because Biometric information is stored.

    In my opinion, a name if possible, should be recorded in the cultural format of the person in question. A single field for Name in the passport allows this to happen. In a multiracial and multi-ethnic country like Malaysia, this mode of name recording is the best option. Differentiated fields for name can potentially create more confusion…

    Although Mat Salleh index my name as LOI, OLIVER CHEE SIUNG; I will always be fondly known as OLIVER LOI CHEE SIUNG by my parents and those who are closest to me.


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