Despite the fact that our passport is one of the most powerful in the world, Malaysians are still pretty careless with it.
According to the Royal Malaysian Customs Department statistics, 22,475 out of 31,287 passport holders who had lost the documents between January and 2nd June this year, simply “forgot” where they put the passports. 2,858 others claimed that they lost their passports while moving house.
Royal Malaysian Customs Department Director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali said, “Losing Malaysian passports seems to be common, be they in the country or abroad. Losing due to theft is still acceptable but if that occurs frequently, then it is not good.”
Statistics showed that Johor recorded the highest number of such cases involving 5,734 passports, followed by Kuala Lumpur (4,399), and Selangor (3,409).
“For cases which occurred overseas, Australia has recorded the highest number with 43 lost passports, followed by Singapore (41), Hong Kong (11) and France (10). Most of these cases are due to robbery, theft, dropping out of pockets and others,” said Mustafar, adding that there had been cases in which a person claimed to have lost the passport four times.
To ensure that passport holders are more responsible with their documents, the Immigration Department is proposing a fine of up to RM1,000 for those who lose their passports. The proposed penalty is a RM200 fine for the 1st time, RM500 for the 2nd time, and RM1,000 for the 3rd and subsequent times.
Currently, the Malaysian passport is the 5th most powerful in the world, according to the Global Passport Power Rank 2017 (the only real time global ranking of the world’s passports). Malaysia ties in with Ireland as well as Canada, with an overall visa-free score (VFS) of 155. The VFS represents the number of countries a passport holder can visit visa-free or with a visa-on-arrival.
Th #1 spot for the most powerful passport in the world was a tie between Germany and Singapore, with an overall VFS of 159.