M’sian Immigration Officer Refuses To Let Woman Renew Passport Due To Her Poor BM

Another case.


The Immigration Department has since posted an announcement on its Twitter account, where it clarified that officer CANNOT reject one from renewing their passport due to poor BM proficiency.

While Bahasa Melayu (BM) is the official language of Malaysia, other languages and dialects also exist such as English, Hokkien, and Cantonese. However, not everyone is proficient in the national language due to various reasons.

An elderly woman was allegedly barred from renewing her passport after she was deemed not to be fluent in BM, sparking outrage from her son who shared the encounter on social media.

- Advertisements -

M’sian immigration officer refuses to let woman renew passport

Taking to Facebook to share the unpleasant encounter, the netizen named Shiang Cherng Saw wrote that he took his parents to renew their passports at UTC Komtar in Penang.

- Advertisements -

While his dad had no problems renewing his passport, the same couldn’t be said for his mum, who was prevented from doing so as she found not to be able to speak in Malay and was instructed to see another officer the next day.

When Saw spoke to the officer on duty to ask what was the reason for rejecting his mother’s passport renewal, the latter insisted that his mother couldn’t converse in Malay and even insisted that Saw’s mother count from 1 to 10 on the spot in Malay.

- Advertisements -

Even when she was able to do so, the officer made her say what’s a calendar in Malay while insisting:

She needs to know how to speak Malay in order to renew her passport as this is Malaysia!

Malaysian passport
For illustration purposes only. Photo by WeirdKaya

Backed down after OP snaps back

Although Saw tried explaining that his mother’s poor Malay proficiency was due to her dropping out of school early due to poverty, the officer refused to have any of it and insisted that his mother meet the other officer for an interview the following day.

Unable to tolerate it anymore, Saw spoke loudly to the officer:

What does not being able to speak Malay have to do with passport renewal? What is your understanding or standard of being able to speak Malay? Does that mean one has to retake the exam for Malay or show his/her UPSR, SPM certificate?!

M'sian students taking exam
Photo via Malay Mail

Perhaps taken aback by his outburst, the officer didn’t say anything in reply.

Saw later revealed in the comment section that his mother was unable to renew her passport and had to go for the interview.

Netizens outraged

Needless to say, netizens were irate to see how harshly the officer treated Saw’s mother over her Malay proficiency and roundly condemned the incident.

- Advertisements -

‘(The officer) is taking the opportunity to bully people.’

M'sian immigration officer refuses to let woman renew passport due to her poor bm comment 1
Screenshot via FB/Shiang Cherng Saw

‘The ‘best’ part about certain Malaysian officers is that they will do their tasks based on their mood, not because it’s their duty. Some of them even act like little Napoleons. How is the country going to improve?!’

M'sian immigration officer refuses to let woman renew passport due to her poor bm comment 2
Screenshot via FB/Shiang Cherng Saw

‘Take down the officer’s name, file a complaint and sue!’

- Advertisements -
M'sian immigration officer refuses to let woman renew passport due to her poor bm comment 3
Screenshot via FB/Shiang Cherng Saw

Back in December of last year, Lawyers for Freedom (LFL) director Zaik Malik confirmed that there was no provision in the law that requires Malaysians to be fluent in Malay in order to renew their passport.

What do you think of this incident? Share with us in the comments!

Read more stories relating to Malay proficiency here:

Weirdkaya | malaysian' daily dose of social media stories
For more stories like this, follow WeirdKaya on Facebook and Instagram!

We are hiring writers!
We are hiring writers!