Immigration Department – a heartwarming experience, pride to the civil service

The staff displayed commendable efficiency – something that should be of pride to the civil service

The Immigration Department at the Ministry of Home Affairs complex in Kuala Lumpur – BENEDICT LOPEZ

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More often than not, it is the negative news that surfaces about government agencies.

Many are on a fault-finding mission and rarely look at the flip side of the coin. So we seldom get much positive news regarding the civil service.

On 10 June, I went to the Immigration Department at the Ministry of Home Affairs complex in Kuala Lumpur to renew my passport. After parking my car, I queued up like the rest and thought it was going to be a long wait as I was towards the tail end of the queue.

But then, I saw an immigration officer walking from the entrance of the passport section towards the end of the queue, informing older people like me to move to the front.

Once we reached the special queue, another officer gave us a queue number for older people and people with disabilities.  

As I had arrived at 08:00 sharp, I was given the number 2004, and as soon as the doors opened, I took my seat. Much to my surprise, my number was called after only 10 minutes.

After submitting my application, I had to wait to be called to make my payment. I had to stand, as all the seats were occupied.

An ethnic Malay woman saw me and at once told her daughter to call me and offer me her seat.

This was heartwarming. I was happy to note that there are still parents out there who inculcate good values in their children, like offering a seat to an older person.

Again, I only had to wait for only around 15 minutes before I was called to pay the RM100 required for my new passport.

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After the payment was made, the immigration officer told me to proceed to the next room and wait to collect my new passport.

At just past 09:00, I was called to collect my passport.

From my observation, the staff at the Immigration Department displayed commendable efficiency – something that should be of pride to the civil service. The staff were courteous and offered a generous smile to those who turned up to renew their passports.

The frontline service at this division of the Immigration Department should be the benchmark for other government agencies.

The service offered to older people like me – as well as the seat offered to me by that kind young woman – made my day.

Yes, there are still good people everywhere who work with a sense of pride and dignity and who discharge their duties with impeccable efficiency.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
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Benedict Lopez
Benedict Lopez was director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority in Stockholm and economics counsellor at the Malaysian embassy there in 2010-2014. He covered all five Nordic countries in the course of his work. A pragmatic optimist and now an Aliran member, he believes Malaysia can provide its people with the same benefits found in the Nordic countries - not a far-fetched dream but one he hopes will be realised in his lifetime
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