Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said all passport holders will be using new Malaysian passports with enhanced security features in about one-and-a-half months.
He said currently, there were about 81,000 Malaysian passport booklets with the old features that were expected to be used up soon.
“We have the capacity to produce five million passports a year and we have no more than 90,000 old passport stock which can still be used but at the same time, we have started issuing the new version,” he told a media conference after opening a new factory of Datasonic Group Bhd here today.
Zahid said the old stock should be exhausted in one-and-a-half months, especially with the current holiday season.
He said among the new enhanced security features were biometric and facial recognition capabilities.
The new passports would also comply with the standard set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
He said the latest features would ensure the document could not be forged even with the latest technology.
He added that the latest features would also improve the level of efficiency of the Immigration Department.
“The Immigration Department will only take 15 minutes for the renewal of passports after payment had been made, while for new applications, it will only take one hour after payment had been made,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a statement released today, Datasonic said its new factory had commenced operations to manufacture new passport booklets in October and had so far manufactured almost 650,000 pieces of the document which had been in used since Nov 15.
It said the new version of the Malaysian passport had enhanced features such as an embedded chip, three-coloured security stitching thread and the use of ultraviolet light to verify its authenticity.
“The upgraded design concept, on the other hand, encompasses the Malaysian culture, such as the hibiscus, orchidaceae, red ginger, silver-eared mesia bird and Rukunegara principles,” it said.
Last year the group was awarded a RM233.38 million contract to supply passport booklets for five years from Dec 1, 2016 to Nov 30, 2021.-BERNAMA