(Photo of Adam Teoh practising for when he has to be on the lookout for his nombor giliran at a government department)
The MyKad, the government multi purpose card that is set to replace Malaysia's NRIC - National Registration Identity Card, has been in the news again. Prizes for changing over. Road shows to encourage changing over. Deadlines. Yesterday I decided that I would go do it since it is inevitable that it will have to be done. I happened to be chatting with my friend TV Smith ( http://www.mycen.com.my/duasen/) and he told me that the registration department has a website and that I would find useful information there. I went there and lo and behold a working website by a government department! Very informative site indeed. Listed all the locations for MyKad application and collection, phone numbers, documents required to effect the changeover, etc. I was impressed. I called one of the phone numbers listed and after getting no answer on one attempt and a couple of engaged tones I spoke to a polite and helpful person. She told me what I had to bring for the application which was my passport if I had one, my current NRIC. What about photos I asked. No need. You get here and we will take them for you. Huh? Really ah? Errrr.....how much money will it cost and should I bring cash? No need. It's FREE! Ha!!!??? Really one ah? Yes, I was assured by this very helpful lady on the other end of the line. Just come over and we will take care of everything for you. Hey, what do you know man? Pak Lah kicks ass man!
And so armed with a renewed confidence in government efficiency and a swelling pride of being part of the new Bolehland I drove to the nearest location, Maju Junction. Right in the middle of the city. Easy parking. Spanking new building. After getting lost a couple of times I found the JPN. There were quite a lot of people there already. The moment I walked through the door my heart sank. Most of the counters were manned by the dreaded TUTUP sign. The faces of all the MyKad applicant hopefuls had this look that you see at all government department queues. Resignation. I found the counter where I was to get my queue number but didn't see the sign that was sitting on it. I asked the man behind the counter for a number. He pointed at the sign. It read "NOMBOR GILIRAN UNTUK HARI INI SUDAH HABIS". Okay I paraphrase but that was what it meant. The rather disinterested man behind the counter said that I should come back the next day and......try again! Someone standing close by offered an unsolicited piece of advice. "You have to come early in the morning one." So after all the hoohah it does still cost the Malaysian raakyat one full day off school/work/business to do something simple involving a government department. No wonder response to the MyKad changeover has been lukewarm despite enticements of attractive prizes. Including a Proton Savvy I'm told. Maybe I will just forget about it and join the ranks of the millions of apathetic Malaysians and not bother with MyKad. Until they tell us that they will fine us shitloads of money or throw us in jail if we don't change. And then I will wait for them to announce discounts for the fines before I get off my butt and go get a nombor giliran. SIGH.