ICA to stop accepting Malaysian 'group passport' from January next year

Malaysia is the only country that has a group travel document arrangement with Singapore.
Malaysia is the only country that has a group travel document arrangement with Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Malaysians who travel to Singapore as a group from next year will have to use individual passports instead of group travel documents.

The Singapore authorities will stop accepting the Malaysian Collective Travel Document (MCTD) from Jan 1 next year, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said on Wednesday (Feb 5).

The MCTD is a travel document issued by Malaysia's immigration department to groups of five to 20 Malaysians, substituting the use of individual passports.

The group document poses security concerns and stopping its use will strengthen the security and efficiency of immigration clearance at Singapore's checkpoints, the ICA said.

"As ICA moves towards greater use of automation and multi-modal biometrics for clearance, the MCTD poses operational concerns, as it requires manual data entry of all travellers' details, resulting in longer clearance times," it added.

The ICA told The Straits Times that it cleared an average of 28,100 Malaysian group travel document each year between 2017 and 2019. "This translates to an average of 140,500 travellers using MCTDs each year," said an ICA spokesman,

Malaysia is the only country that has a group travel document arrangement with Singapore.

The ICA said it has informed its counterpart - the Immigration Department of Malaysia - of its plans to stop accepting the group travel document.

Malaysian travellers using the MCTD should apply for passports if they plan to travel to Singapore from Jan 1, 2021, ICA added.