KUALA LUMPUR, 17 Feb 2009: Malaysian passport holders can check their status via the short messaging service (SMS) beginning next month, Immigration Department Director-General Datuk Mahmood Adam said today.
He said the service was the first of its kind in the world and the number would be announced soon.
Currently the public could now check their passport status from the department’s website at www.imi.gov.my, he said.
About 500,000 Malaysian passport holders had been barred from travelling abroad for various offences like bankruptcy, court cases, income tax defaults and criminal cases, he told Bernama.
Since the blacklist was posted on the Internet three weeks ago, some 500 discharged bankrupts had applied to clear their names, he added.
Mahmood said the department had taken steps to make the department more customer-friendly with the public being served courteously, efficiently and professionally.
It had also beefed up its staff strength with 1,368 new officers joining the department in the last six months, bringing the total to 12,168, he said, adding that 36% of the new recruits were non-Malay Malaysians.
The department had also increased the number of non-Malay Malaysians in the senior positions and introduced a seven-day work schedule at all its state headquarters since last month.
Mahmood said it started reminding passport holders seven months before the expiry of their passports as part of efforts to give value-added service and to be more responsive to public complaints.
Reminding the staff to serve the public with dedication, sincerity and honesty to safeguard the country’s image and integrity, he said he would not hesitate to recommend dismissal of errant officers who keep making mistakes and bringing disrepute to the department.