Passport renewal denied to elderly Chinese woman, why?

An elderly woman was supposedly barred from renewing his passport for not being able to converse fluently in Malay. 

A Facebook user by the name of Shiang Cherng Saw, took his parents to renew their passports at UTC Komtar in Penang.

His father had no issues while renewing his passport, able to get his passport within the day.

However, his mother wasn’t so lucky.

According to Shiang, his mother needs to come back tomorrow to renew her passport. 

“If you can’t speak Malay you cannot renew your passport at this moment, you have to meet the immigration officer tomorrow morning,” Shiang claimed the officer on duty said this to his mother via a Facebook post. 

Shiang was not present when the incident occurred, so to avoid any misunderstanding she approached the same immigration officer on duty to enquire reason behind rejecting his mother’s passport renewal. 

“Your mother can’t speak Malay? She really can’t speak Malay?” the immigration officer asked in disbelief.

The same Facebook post claimed that the immigration officer even went as far as requesting his mother to speak Malay on the spot, which Chiang’s mother complied, counting one to ten in Malay. 

However, the immigration officer was still not satisfied, she picked up the calendar on the counter, and asked, “What is this? Please answer in Malay.”

Shiang tried to help his mother by providing the answer, however, the immigration officer claimed such action was not allowed. 

She actually said, “Eh, eh, you can’t give the answer,” and then reiterated, “Your mother really can’t speak Malay? She must be able to speak Malay before renewing the passport because this is MALAYSIA.”

Shiang tried explaining that his mother’s poor Malay proficiency was due to her dropping out of school early due to poverty, but the immigration officer refused to listen to reason.

“Tomorrow, you need to bring your mom to meet the officer for an interview,” the immigration officer said. 

At this point, Shiang exploded: “What does not being able to speak Malay have to do with renewing a passport? If elderly uncles and aunties can’t speak Malay, does that mean they can’t renew their passports?”

“What is your understanding or standard of being able to speak Malay? Do you need to conduct a Malay language proficiency test? Or should we show you our UPSR or SPM Malay language certificates with Pass/Credit?”

Startled by his outburst, the immigration officer opted for silence.

The immigration officer’s colleague intertwined and claimed that she actually didn’t have the authority to approve his mother’s passport renewal.

The immigration officer colleague’s answer elicits a strong response from Chiang. 

“Hello, am I looking like a 3-year-old baby? 

“I can understand that if you don’t have the qualification. but you’re saying you don’t have the authority?

“So, are all the passports you approve every day in violation? Is it just for the show? 

“What kind of service attitude is this? You claim to serve the people, yet you behave in such an unreasonable manner?” Shiang asked.

The reason Shiang was given in response was “because this is MALAYSIA.”

In the end, Shiang’s mother wasn’t able to renew her passport and had to attend the interview mentioned by the immigration officer. 

Netizens weren’t happy with how Shiang’s mother was treated.

“Take down their name directly and go complain! Sue them!” one Facebook user named Sing Lamlam said. 

“Little Napoleons want to show their power,” said a Facebook user named Padma Nathan. 

As of now, the post has garnered 364 comments. 

READ ALSO: Immigration staff in passport renewal fiasco reprimanded