In order to provide passports to expatriate Bangladeshis living in Malaysia in an easier and faster time, outsourcing has been decided on the model of developed countries. To this end, the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur recently signed an agreement with Expat Services Limited (ESL) Company in view of the directives of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh to ensure expatriate-friendly citizen services through information technology.
First Secretary (Press) of Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur, Sufi Abdullahil Maruf said in a signed press release, ‘ESL is a registered company in Bangladesh as well as Malaysia. The company has leased a building at Jalan Dua-Chan Sho Lin in the heart of Kuala Lumpur to provide e-passport and Bangladeshi visa application services to Malaysians and other nationalities. The 14,000 sq. ft. building is almost equipped as a ‘One Stop Service Centre’. This building has all the facilities of modern building management including open spaces as well as advanced sanitation. Transportation facilities (bus, LRT, MRT) exist for commuting in the area where the building is located. With the aim of starting as a ‘one stop service centre’, advanced technology equipment is already being installed here and preparations for setting up 47 service counters have been completed.
Sufi Abdullahil Maruf said, ‘Bangladesh High Commission, Malaysia has been providing passport services to the existing large number of expatriate Bangladeshis living in Malaysia with their limited manpower. A significant number of Bangladeshis have come to Malaysia in the last one year through the new agreement. As a result, the scope of work of the High Commission has increased to a large extent compared to any previous time. In the existing situation, the High Commission feels that it is timely to appoint an outsourcing company to make passport and visa services easier and faster under the guidance of the government on the basis of the concept of ‘public-private partnership’.
In case of e-passport issue, ESL will complete all the application process including application form filling, scanning and biometrics. Bangladesh High Commission will ensure the distribution of passports through the Postal Department of Malaysia (Pos Malaysia). Along with ensuring transparency and accountability in the entire process, necessary measures have been taken to stop harassment of service users through maximum use of technology.
The amount of service charge the outsourcing company will receive for the services they provide is determined through the signed contract. In case of workers and students, a total service charge of 32 ringgit including filling of application form for e-passport, interview, deposit of government fee, bio-enrollment, document scanning, online appointment for passport collection is charged at 32 ringgit. Professionals and others will have to pay a service charge of 60 ringgit for this service. Similarly, a service charge of 20 ringgit has been set for Bangladeshi visa application for Malaysian and other nationals. Acting as a ‘One Stop Service Centre’, the service recipient has to visit the service provider only once for the entire process. ESL will provide services in several states outside Kuala Lumpur such as Johor Bahru, Penang through mobile teams under the supervision of the High Commission.
The entire operation of the One Stop Service Center operated by the outsourcing company ESL will be directly managed electronically under the supervision of the High Commission officials/employees and there is a system of direct monitoring from the High Commission through CCTV. In addition, there is an obligation of police verification (Bangladesh and Malaysia) by the High Commission on recruitment of manpower and the High Commission has the power to terminate the contract if the service delivery performance of the outsourcing company is not satisfactory.
The press secretary of the High Commission said that a high-level delegation led by Mohammad Khorshed Alam Khastgir, Acting High Commissioner of Bangladesh High Commission of Malaysia, visited ESL’s head office on 5 December 2023 to inspect the preparation activities of the outsourcing company. At this time, Expat Services Limited Managing Director Ghiyas Ahmed and the employees of the organization were present. The High Commission delegation expressed satisfaction with the progress of ESL activities, especially the under-construction infrastructure and external appearance of the management office. Counselor (Political) Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya and Head of Embassy Farhana Ahmed Chowdhury, Counselor (Consular) GM Russell Rana and First Secretary (Commercial) Pranab Kumar Ghosh were present among others in the inspection team.
It should be noted that Malaysia is currently in the final stages of preparing to launch Bangladesh’s e-passport program. Outsourcing company ESL will mainly carry out various tasks related to e-passport application processing since the launch of the e-passport program. Recently, some media reports in this regard came to the attention of the mission. In these reports, several non-objective facts were published without verification with the mission. In fact, the launch date of Bangladesh e-passport program in Malaysia has not been set yet but Bangladesh High Commission, Malaysia and outsourcing company ESL are almost completing their overall preparations with the intention of launching e-passport soon.