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How I spend 8.5 hours at Immigration Malaysia

We just renewed our annual LTSVP and this is the 4th year of our renewal.  I will try to make this post as humorous as possible because if I was to write this yesterday,  this post probably would be filled with anger and frustrations.

We arrived at Putrajaya about 7.15am.  The number was only distributed at 7.30am.  This was our lucky number.  We were the third couple of the day.  

The first couple was African husband/Malaysian wife.  Second couple was like us, Chinese husband/Malaysian wife.

Immediately we got a seat because we were so darn early.  I was pretty glad to get a nice seat near the numbering info system so that we can see what's our number.  

Prior to this trip, I have million of what-ifs because I am now currently 8 months pregnant.  I was wondering if I could go through the day, having to pee few times a day and feeling hungry and thirsty all the time.  No worries, I survived!

At about 8am, our number was called.  It was pretty quick.  I noticed at every counter, there was this little online rating system that you see a lot in Singapore, where you were to rate the service if it is good or bad.  All the system was offline.  Hmm, maybe the rating for this department is not favourable.  Guess budget need to be spent somewhere.

The lady at the counter has no smile on her face.  Hmm.  I have just learned from our training recently, "Emotional Intelligence" that in order to pass the positive vibes around, we should start with a smile every morning.  Guess there's not going to be any positive vibes here.

We submitted all the necessary documents and were told that the employment contract may not be valid.  

You see, last year we got an employment contract from the employer so that husband can get his work endorsement.  In the contract, it was stated as 5 years contract.  The date of the contract was last year and the stamp duty was done last year as well.  I used back the same contract as it is still valid for another 4 years.

But no, lady at the counter said I should get a new stamp every single year.  Read this right.  Every.Single.Year.  I replied that the contract was made last year and valid for another 4 years.  But no, she said stamping must be new.  I guess she is new as well.

I work in a corporate environment and have done stamping prior to this to many type of agreements, from tenancy agreement to what-not.  Did you know that if your contract is pre-dated, you have to pay a penalty when you do stamping of current date at the Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri?  So, does this lady at the counter insist that I pay a penalty so that I can get the work endorsement done?   Or is she implying that I get a new employment contract every single year and despite stating valid for 5 years, I should tell the employer that I only need the contract for 1 year?  

Hmm...guess not everyone knows what they are doing.  And guess not everyone is educated enough to go and find out all the icky stuff.  But I want to say this.  Before you tell the customer what it is, GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT!

So I asked, so how now?  She said, let's see if the Tuan will approve.  Fine.

We continue to wait while I began to read the Bhagavad Gita, translated by Juan Mascaro.  Please get this beautiful book.  It's a very good read and there's so much of enlightenment in that little small book.

Sorry, I digressed.  The Immigration began to be filled with people.  This time I noticed, there were many Iranians and Middle Eastern people.  Lots and lots of them.  

Our number was called again about 10.40am.  This time we were told to pay.  So, in my heart I was thinking, wow, this is fast.  We should be getting the passport soon, probably before lunch.  Good.

It is getting crowded now.  We couldn't get back our nice seats.  Continue waiting and reading Bhagavad Gita.  In fact, we can't find any seats that we can sit together.  Some couple sit 3 seats.  No one bothered to offer a seat to a 8 month pregnant woman.  

At 1pm, some of the lights was off.  Hmm...what's happening now?  I went to the counter and asked.  I was told that it's lunch time now and they are closed from 1-2pm.  No sign?  Nope.  Does that mean the Kaunter Serahan (Collection Counter) also will be close for lunch?  Yes, unless your number was called before that and you were not around.  Fine.

We have an appointment at 2pm.  We decided to rush out and grab a quick lunch and then get on with our appointment at Puchong.  Luckily it's not that far from Putrajaya.

Done with our lunch and appointment and made a quick return back to Putrajaya.  We reached at 3.30pm.  I was so worried that we have missed our call number and went to the counter and asked.  "Belum lagi, puan."  Hmmm....

At the same time, we saw the first 2 couples.  Remember 2001 and 2002?  They were still there and filled with frustrations and anger.  Husband and wife were quarreling.  Children were getting impatient and crying.  Both of these couples have small children.  

So I told husband, looks like not our turn yet since these 2 couples were still here.  Waiting continue.  This time no more reading Bhagavad Gita.  I was desperate to get the passport and get out of there fast.  Bear in mind, I am 8 months pregnant.  And there's no such thing as priority counter.  They can't be bothered if you are disabled, pregnant or with small children.

Finally, at 4pm, our number was called.  Got our passport.  And I almost cried.  After waiting for 8.5 hours, the outcome was 1 year visa and 1 year work endorsement.  Worse part was the 1 year work endorsement starts from the date we applied to the same date next year while the visa is continuous.  That means we have 1 month difference between the dates.  I don't know how silly this can get.

As we walked to the lift, I was in the verge of bursting into tears but held it in.  8.5 hours.  1 year.  This was all running in my head.  Imagine we have to do this all over again, same time next year, with the little one in tow.  How will we survive?  I will tell you next year.  But dear God please help us.

I don't know why they like to torture Malaysian wives married to foreign husband.  I seriously do not know what they do behind the counter.  Do they do a company search?  Do they check his background?  Was it some intelligence investigation going on behind us while we were patiently or rather impatiently waiting?

We survived.  But left disappointed, tired and frustrated.  

Here's some tips for those get caught up at Immigration Putrajaya with no idea what's going on as no one there can advise you.

1. No need to go so early.  Since they have to complete their day's work before 4.30-5pm, you will get your passport on the same day.  Unless there's some major complications.  But rest assured, same day delivery.

2. They are closed for lunch from 1-2pm although there are no signs stating this anyway.  No point being there and waiting.  Go and have a nice lunch.  If your number hasn't be called before lunch, it won't be called until after lunch.

3. There's a cafeteria on the 2nd floor.  Go and grab some nice Malay food.  

4. Toilets are located on 1st and 2nd floor.  It's not the cleanest toilet on earth but also not the dirtiest but you will have to make do with it.  I went 4 times throughout the 8.5 hours.

5. Next time, after we pay, we will probably go to Alamanda and have a nice shopping time and walk around and then come back by 3pm.  

6. If you want to get your passport fast, don't get the work endorsement.  But if you are doing the work endorsement, the collection counter is not Counter 1.  It is Counter 17.  By the way, the Tuan accepted the employment contract.  

7. If you are the patient type of person, get a good book to read while opening your ears to check on the number.  The numbers jump so much that you might missed it.  But if you are not kiasu, you can wait for your number to be called again.  Many would bring iPads and play games but when you are too into the game, you might miss your number.  That's my take.  Reading still ok.

I heard if you want more than 1 year visa, you must have children together or you must be in Malaysia for at least 5 years.  So, next year, I will share with you whether this holds true.  Because he would be in Malaysia for 5 years with the little one in tow.

I am not sure how I would manage with breastfeeding and little one who will be about 11 months by then, that means she would probably wanting to crawl around and all that.  Don't want to think so far ahead though.  Just hoping that things will be better from now.


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