Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rather painless visit to government departments

I hate doing anything official because I have the impression that it's really slow and no one will be able to answer any of my questions etc. I also hate going out of my house. Yes, even though there are many, many photos proving otherwise... I'm actually really comfortable at home in front of my Mac.

But what needs to be done needs to be done.

There is an official document I had to request to certify that I'm unmarried, which I need to send in to the Dutch embassy to get my residence permit. Thankfully, I have a friend who has done this before, so she just told me to head to the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (National Registration Department) to request the document, then move to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get it legalised and stamped.

I really cannot be bothered to get up extra early to do things so I figure I'll take my chance and have faith. I had also called the customer service at the JPN yesterday and was told that Thursdays are the best days to get stuff done at the Marriage/Divorce department because they only have counselling and no ceremonies.

So I decided to just go ahead and do it today. I got up, had my tea, took a shower, had some lunch, played some Facebook games, then set off.

I took a new road which was very pleasant. It's the Maju Expressway which heads straight to Putrajaya (also turns off at National Sports Complex, Bukit Jalil and some other places). There were cars but it was a smooth drive. Toll is a more expensive RM2.50, compared to other roads going to Putrajaya. I'd rather pay that then face irritating KL drivers though.

I even decided to go to the JPN without a map. I figure that since Putrajaya is the administrative capital and was built to house all these government agencies in one area, it should be easy to find. Such faith I have. I just followed all the signs to Kompleks Jabatan Kerajaan (I think that's what it said... basically means government department complex) and I saw Kompleks C, D and E. Where the heck is A and B? Because JPN is not in C, D and E! Finally, I had to call Mumsy Bumsy to look for the exact address online. She told me to go to Precinct 2.

Once there, I saw a bunch of humongous buildings as well. This time it was right. All the jabatans were here. The kompleks were only housing the ministries. I'm pretty sure they signboard didn't say Kompleks Kementerian Kerajaan though. Which they should have, to make it clearer (Kementerian = ministry).

Anyway, I found the JPN and parked at the big area outside which only costs RM4 per entry. Good thing too, because who knows how long one has to wait at these government departments?

Photo of JPN by qunut13 on flickr. If you're qunut13, I hope you don't mind me using your photo. I tried to sign in to send you a message, but stupid flickr kept sending me to the main Yahoo! page. Lovely photo, by the way.

At first, with such a huge building, I expected to be lost and have to walk ages before reaching somewhere. But it was actually pretty alright. Within a few steps of walking in from a side entrance, I reached the info desk where the friendly lady pointed me in the direction of the Marriage department.

By the way, I wanna add that I was driving around Putrajaya and was really impressed (yet again) at all the buildings and the roads. Very nice indeed. Much better than having to brave KL traffic going to two government buildings.

I took a number and waited half an hour for my turn. I got some forms and was told to go to the Commissioner of Oaths so that he could witness my proclamation of being single. Unfortunately he was out for lunch and only back in 15 minutes. So I waited outside.

While I was there I wondered... government employees here only work from 8.30am to 5.30pm, right? They don't have to work overtime do they? And if they don't, shouldn't they just get 30 minutes lunch break? That's how they do it in Dutchland. Because, honestly, there's nothing to do for one hour. And everyone else in the private sector who works 10 to 12 hours also gets one hour lunches? Not very fair.

Anyway, this Commissioner guy was the worst person I encountered today. Absolutely didn't like him even though I only dealt with him for 2 minutes. First, he was late back from lunch. His female assistant, who was very nice but kinda dumb (let's give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's new), opened the doors 5 minutes past, and he strolled in 10 minutes after that. She gestured to him that I was there first, so he called me over. I said "Hi.". He just looked at my letter and form. Asked for my IC. Filled in the necessary. I said "Thank you.". Nothing from him. Fat ass. Even stamped and signed my official forms on top of a bloody newspaper! Can't even set your table up nicely in an official manner?? He only told me, "Pay there." and pointed to his assistant. When I got up, he looked at the other two couples in the room and announced (I can imagine him opening his arms in a self-important, grandiose way), "Semua." (which means, "Everyone.").

Fat ass.

I paid RM4 for that silly stamp and signature.

Went back up to the Marriage counters and waited 20 mins to send in my forms. Then another 10 mins to get the official document. Paid RM5 for it.

So far, I've only paid RM13 for everything. Pretty well cheap, eh? Very pleased.

I go down to the info desk to ask the way to Wisma Putra, the Foreign Ministry building. She directs me, but of course, I don't understand directions and I end up driving up and down that big, wide jabatan road until I decide that it's definitely not on this road. Shouldn't everything be on this road, I wondered. So I looked for a location map and discovered that it's on its own little hill, set apart from everyone else. Geez!

Nice building though. Once I reached there, it was free parking, a big plus.

Same deal with spOt_ON on flickr. Couldn't sign in to send you a message. I also colour-corrected your photo slightly, as the original is too yellow. Ahem.

Went to the guardhouse to register. I said "Nak pergi bahagian konsular." (Going to the consular section). The other guard who was sitting behind suddenly looks up and goes, "Eh, you Melayu atau Cina??". I'm so surprised by this question I actually almost say "Melayu". I think my mouth wanted to say "No no, I really AM speaking Malay even if I don't speak it well!". Instead, I went "M... m... Cina!" and he told me how surprised he was, because I spoke with a Malay accent. And I wanted to tell him that I actually don't speak it much, but what actually came out was, "Tapi saya tak cakap banyak..." and trailed off into silence. Which he took to mean that I didn't even say much, how can he tell I have the proper Malay speaking accent? And he replied that he could just tell from my accent. I suppose a Chinesey accent speaking Malay IS pretty obvious, after all.

"Nak paagi pahagian kansula..."

Anyway, the people in the konsular weren't very friendly or chatty, but at least I was in and out of there in 20 mins, with my precious stamp and signature. It cost me RM10, the most expensive so far. But still cheap enough. Very very sweet!

Wanted to hop on over to the Immigration Department next to renew my passport for another 5 years, but it was already 3.45pm and some departments close at 4pm. Kind of a bummer because I wanted to finish everything official today, but I'd rather go home and beat the rush hour traffic than drive around looking for another building.

So passport renewal is next week then. Should also take a really short time since we now have electronic passports (and it's so cool we have them!) and I think I remember being able to renew them just at a machine. Hopefully that's all it takes. We'll see next week!


melissa chan said...

Passport renewal is pretty easy and smooth...get to the immigration dept in pusat bandar d'sara (help college building) early at 8am...fill in the forms (bring along copy of IC, and photographs) and the wait is pretty painless - should be done in an hour or less, depending on queue (weekdays should be fairly quiet). then either wait for another few hours to collect your passport or return another day (same time, weekdays = less queue).

on the other hand you can use the machines located outside, didn't try myself but i assume the upside to using them is it's better facing machines than unsmiling civil servants ;)

shoobaba said...

hehe... thanks for the info :P been a while since i renewed, but i remember my mum and sister using the machines the last time. i could have, only that... guess what... they had put LELAKI on my passport, and when i'd told them it was wrong, they just printed a Note on the second page that i'm PEREMPUAN instead. so when i wanted to renew my passport, i had to apply for a completely new one just so they would get my gender correct. therefore, i couldn't use the machines! and had to pay for a new passport instead of renewal. cis!