imho

IMHO: Passports Should Be Free For Every Malaysian Citizen

The Malaysian passport should be a right, not a privilege.

Cover image via Tamara Jayne/SAYS & Yousef Alfuhigi/Unsplash

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Now that travel restrictions have been lifted, we've been hearing countless stories from Malaysians who are struggling to get their passports done

Everyone is trying their best to follow the ever-so-confusing rules and guidelines laid out by the Immigration Office. 

From issues uploading passport photos online, to being turned away in-person, the chaos is real. 

And I feel... unnecessary. 

Disclaimer before my next statement: I have done no research into this whatsoever, it's just my random opinion. Jangan kecam. I just want to say my piece. You can write your own article about why we should pay for passports. :)

I think every Malaysian should get a passport for free at birth... or whenever they want

Whether or not they use it shouldn't matter. I think passports should be a basic right for every citizen.

If a person decides to never travel to another country, then that's fine. But they should still have that option to get their passport for free as and when they want.

Imagine when a baby is born, you go to JPN to register the birth and then get both a MyKid AND a passport at the same time.

Ok, on second thought, that might be weird because newborns look like little meat blobs (but can you imagine their passport photos with their itty bitty wee faces!) and they grow so much so fast.

Passports are expensive and travel shouldn't be reserved for just the wealthy

For the upper middle class and above, maybe it's not such a big expense. Especially if you're planning some luxurious vacation on the other side of the world. 

What's RM200 to renew your passport?

But for others, it can be a burden. Especially if you're a parent who wants to travel with kids.

And even if you are wealthy, wouldn't you appreciate a free passport too? Sounds nice, right?

Some people just want to have a fun day trip to Singapore or Thailand

It's me. I'm some people. 

But my passport expired in 2021, along with my husband's and children's passports. I can't afford to fork out RM1,000 (or however much it would be) to renew everyone's passports for a day trip.

"So don't go lah."

 Ya lah, I'm not going. Hence this article. Haih.

Hello Singapore, I will just admire you from Google walaupun you're only a 15-minute drive from my MIL's house in JB.

Image via Hu Chen/Unsplash

Alternatively, imagine if there was an emergency and people needed to leave the country immediately. A natural disaster, a foreign invasion, zombies. I don't know. It could happen. Probably not the zombies. 

Shouldn't everyone be given the right to evacuate? Get their free passport and go? Instead only the people who can afford it will be able to. 

Did you know, passports in Madagascar are free?

I mean, it only provides visa-free access to 58 countries and ranks 87th on the passport index, but still! It's free for citizens. 

Why can't our passports be free too? You know what I'm saying?

And if you want to argue about criminals or people who shouldn't be allowed to travel...

In my fantasy land of free passports that will never exist, if you break the law or do something that the government deems makes you restricted from travelling overseas, then your right to a free passport can be revoked. 

Convicted for laundering RM2.9 billion? No passport for you!

My son is OKU and one of the benefits he receives is a free passport and free renewals for the rest of his life

It's a great benefit. One that I wish all Malaysians can enjoy. That's all.

This story is a personal opinion of the writer and does not reflect the position of SAYS.

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