Cheesed Off At Immigration Office Subang

On August 1 2000, my wife and I were at the Immigration Office in Subang at 8.10am to apply for new passports. We showed our duly completed application forms and documents to the duty officer at Counter 1. There was no problem with my wife's application form and the documents were returned to her with a sticker bearing a queue number.

The officer examined my documents and instead of returning them to me with a sticker, passed them on to another officer. This other officer scrutinised my photographs in the old passport as well as the new ones with a magnifying glass. Shortly, the officer at the counter returned all my documents and told me to have new photographs taken at a studio just outside the office.

Upon questioning he said that the photographs I submitted were old ones and were the same as the one in my old passport! I strongly protested their assertion as the photographs were only taken the previous day. I was able to produce the negatives and prints of both the photographs to show the officer that he was wrong.

But my effort was in vain even though my photographs were submitted to yet another higher-rank officer at the main office next door. Upon my insistence, the officer at Counter 1 agreed to allow me to meet this higher-rank officer, though I was made to wait for about 20 minutes.

She was adamant that the newly submitted photographs were identical to the one in my passport even though I could produce two different negatives. I even went to the extent of showing her the marked differences between the two, such as color of the shirt, wrinkles and grey hair due to age.

But she still insisted that both sets of photographs were the same and insinuated that the new negative could be a reproduction of the old one. But I was insistent that I was not being dishonest with her and her officers and telling them lies. She then dismissed me but detained the photographs.

Later, I was told that she had accepted my new photographs.

The left photo is dated 1996. The right is dated 2000.


I was absolutely flabbergasted and completely exasperated by the unreasonableness and high-handedness of the officers concerned. I agree it is important to ensure that the photographs one produces for the passport must bear true resemblance to the applicant. If the new and the old photographs look the same, so be it and why make an issue out of it - unless there is a hidden agenda.

However, in spite of the hassle I went through, I had the consolation of knowing that, to some people, I have not aged in the last five years! 2008