IT may come as a surprise why the authorities persist in working with a foreign company that has failed to supply booklets for machine-readable passport (MRP) to passport authorities. As a result, not a single new MRP has been issued from any of the 33 regional passport offices over the last six months. The contracted Malaysian company (IRIS) is apparently in breach of contract and the national exchequer continues to incur both financial and time losses.
Unfortunately for millions of Bangladeshi people both domestically and internationally, the drama over MRP issuance comes at a cost. We have half a million workers, students and other citizens in Malaysia waiting for these documents. When taking into account the Bangladeshi labour force working abroad in the Middle East, the number jumps to nearly 5million people, all of whom are in the pipeline for getting new passports.
Whatever maybe the differences of opinion between the passport authorities and IRIS, these must be straightened out without any further delay. We are informed that the principal point of contention between Bangladesh government and the Malaysian company is non-technical in nature; rather it has to reportedly to do with the diffidence on the part of the company to allow the other Bangladeshi companies involved in the project to get a glimpse of its system. Enough time has been wasted and now authorities need to take a firm stance to resolve the situation, if need be, by resorting to legal measures for non-compliance by the company in question.