SINCE the end of 2020, travelers wishing to enter or leave Malaysia must apply for the MyTravelPass (MTP) permit on the Department of Immigration portal following new regulations to control the movement of travelers (“MyTravelPass to help those seeking entry or exit permit during Covid-19 ”, The Star, October 8, 2020; online at bit.ly/star_travelpass). However, I think many travelers are unaware of the MTP as it has not been widely publicized in the news or even on the official government Facebook webpage.
Ignoring the MyTravelPass, many went ahead to plan trips but were refused by immigration officials at the airport on the day of travel. Worse yet, some inconsiderate officers have rudely chased travelers away.
Travelers were urged to collect their bags and reschedule the entire trip. As most would have made hotel and plane reservations before, being turned down at the last minute meant losing the booking fee. They would also be required to reapply for new entry permits to the destination country, which would extend the wait time for the rescheduled trip.
In the experience of many travelers before, only five to seven working days were needed for the permit to be approved or rejected. However, as of last month, this deadline has increased to 14 to 20 working days. This poses major problems for those who have to travel for work and students, and for those who have received offer letters from companies or educational institutions to leave Malaysia.
Even after waiting 20 business days, some travelers have had their request rejected and, worse yet, not explained why. So they can only repeat the whole process and wait another 20 working days with their fingers crossed. Some have seen their candidacy rejected twice, without any reason being given.
Inquiries made through the portal received the short response “Insufficient documents provided” without specifying which documents should be included. Many travelers express their frustrations about this on social media such as Facebook.
For Malaysians who lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic and received job offers from abroad, such delays threaten their chances of working abroad as companies may not be able to ‘wait.
The authorities really need to find ways to speed up the process of issuing the PMT, perhaps delegating it to local government departments to increase efficiency and avoid delays.
I hope that the public will be more aware of the need for the MTP and that the authorities will be more sensitive to the plight of the population.