Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Travel agency issues Indonesian passports

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

An agency which was carrying out the 6P biometric registration programme for foreign workers has been found issuing travel documents, including passports for foreign workers.

theSun's check at a shopping centre here uncovered a local travel agency, Empayan Holdings Sdn Berhad, which advertised itself as a "Appointed Reach Out Coordinator" and claims to be able to process applications and issue Indonesian passports for RM200.

A sign at the entrance to its office, which opens daily, showed a picture of the Indonesian flag, alongside the company's logo and the heading "Kantor Urus Paspor Warga Indonesia" (Managing Office for Indonesian Passports).

However, an earlier photograph of the same sign taken on Friday had included the word "KBRI (Kedutaan Besar Republik Indonesia) appointed reach out coordinator".

A list of requirements to apply for an Indonesian passport through the company was also pasted on its door. There is also another sign in the office, offering similar services to Bangladesh workers.

At about 10am today, there were several Indonesian workers and employers waiting in line at the office to apply for passports or 'Sijil Perjalanan Laksana Paspor' – a one time travel document issued by the embassy that allows a person to leave the country.

In an immediate response, Indonesian Embassy minister counsellor for information, social and cultural affairs Suryana Sastradiredja confirmed with theSun that no local companies were authorised to issue Indonesian passports.

As such, he expressed concern that the workers may be "cheated" and issued with fake documents.

"We are urging all employees and employers to go directly to the embassy as we have never appointed any agency to act on our behalf," he said, adding that it only costs RM18 to apply for a passport through the embassy.

"The workers and their employers were also informed of the matter via banners put up at the embassy," he said.

On further action taken, Suryana said the embassy has sent letters to all 336 agencies appointed by the Immigration Department here to assist in the 6P biometric registration programme, warning them not use any Indonesian state symbols such as its flag and Garuda Pancasila.

"A letter will also be sent to the Malaysian Home Affairs Ministry as it concerns an abuse of the Indonesian government's name," he added.

Meanwhile, posing as an employer, theSun had earlier met with a staff from the company, who identified himself as Sulaiman, and was given details on how to apply for a passport.

However, Sulaiman later claimed ignorance when told that the Indonesian embassy had not authorised any local company to issue passports.

"We are not sure. First they said yes, then they said no. We have been issuing passports since the 6P programme started in July," he claimed.

Sulaiman also insisted that the company has ties with the Indonesian embassy and it has not gotten into trouble over passports which it has issued in the past.

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