Immigration DG Says BM Proficiency Is Not A Requirement For Passport Renewal

He said this after a woman's passport renewal was allegedly denied because she could not speak Malay.

Cover image via Bernama/Malay Mail & New Straits Times

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Immigration officers are not allowed to reject passport applications solely based on a Malaysian's proficiency in the national language

According to the New Straits Times, Immigration director-general Datuk Ruslin Jusoh said this in response to a viral incident in which a woman's passport renewal was allegedly denied because she could not speak Malay.

The incident, which was posted on Facebook, occurred at the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) in Penang.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Sayuti Zainudin/Malay Mail

A Facebook user had alleged that an immigration officer had refused to renew his mother's passport due to her inability to speak Malay

According to China Press, in the now-deleted Facebook post, the man said he took both his parents to renew their passports at the UTC in Penang.

His father had no issues renewing his passport.

However, he claimed that his mother's application was denied because the officer said his mother could not converse in Malay, and they were asked to come back for an interview the next day.

"She must speak Malay before she can renew her passport because this is Malaysia," the man was allegedly told.

He explained that his mother only knew a little Malay because she had dropped out of school due to poverty.

However, he claimed that the officer remained sceptical and insisted that his mother count from one to 10 in Malay in front of her, and even asked his mother what 'calendar' was in Malay.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via New Straits Times

Ruslin said the customer in question has since successfully renewed her passport and collected it at the Penang UTC office on 22 April

"I would like to clarify that in carrying out their duties, immigration officers may conduct random checks on various aspects to verify applications," added the Immigration director-general in a statement on Wednesday, 24 April.

However, he said these checks are expected to be carried out in a professional and courteous manner.

A similar case occurred in December last year:

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