On The Use of Mykad and Cancellation of Malaysian Restricted Passports
29-May-2006 filed under Case Detected at Checkpoints
This is in response to media queries and with reference to media reports on the use of MyKad for travel between Singapore and Malaysia and cancellation of Malaysian Restricted Passports.
2 On 6 April 2006, the Malaysian media had quoted Malaysia's Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad as saying that "Malaysia had agreed to Singapore's request in 2004 to scrap the restricted passport system, although there were objections from many people in Johor at that time." On 26 May 2006, Bernama reported that "beginning July 1, Singapore will no longer accept Malaysian Restricted Passports as a legal travel document to the country following the decision by the Malaysian Immigration Department to stop issuing or renewing the MRP. Singapore's decision is expected to put 100,000 Malaysian workers, commuting to and from the country, in a tight spot. The republic is also said to have rejected Malaysia's suggestion that the MyKad be used as a travel document."
3 The facts are as follows:
Malaysian Restricted Passports
4 Singapore did not request that Malaysia do away with Malaysian Restricted Passports (MRPs). Malaysia had, on its own accord, stopped issuing and renewing MRPs with effect from 1 January 2005 and announced that MRPs would not be valid for travel after 31 December 2006.
5 In view of this development, and in accordance with the international practice which requires all travel documents to have a validity of at least 6 months, Singapore’s Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) then wrote to the Malaysian Immigration Department on 1 February 2006 to formally state that it will cease accepting MRP as a valid travel document to Singapore with effect from 1 July 2006 i.e. 6 months before the dead-line of 31 Dec 2006 announced by the Malaysian authorities. A copy of this letter was also forwarded to the High Commission of Malaysia.
6 ICA currently has an established electronic card-based automated clearance system. The system which is open for use by Singaporeans, Permanent Residents and long-term pass holders has been operational since December 1997.
7 Malaysian and Singapore immigration authorities have been meeting since April 2001 to discuss the facilitation of immigration clearance for frequent travellers between Singapore and Malaysia. Both immigration authorities had agreed to the terms of reference for the Frequent Traveller Card Project on 21 June 2002, which specifies that frequent travellers must use the Frequent Traveller Card together with their valid passports. ICA last held discussions with the Malaysian Immigration Department on 23 April 2004 in Kuala Lumpur. ICA has not heard from the Malaysian Immigration Department or had any discussions with them on this matter since then.
8 In Jan 2005, ICA wrote to the Malaysian Immigration Department to enquire on whether it was ready to proceed with technical tests of the MyKad. These technical tests are a necessary and critical part of the process in order to ensure the inter-operability of the cards in the immigration clearance systems of both countries. ICA is presently waiting for the Malaysian Immigration Department to respond on the inter-operability tests and will continue to work with its Malaysian counterparts to facilitate travel between Singapore and Malaysia when it receives a response on this issue.