Passports To Go Electronic

Malaysian technology specialist Iris Corp Bhd has agreed to sponsor the introduction of a new electronic passport system in Cam­bodia, a Malaysian Embassy official confirmed Wednesday.

On his recent visit to Kuala Lum­pur, Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng met with Iris representatives to discuss installing the e-pass­port system, which uses electronic chips embedded in passports to track travelers’ movements, doing away with rubber-stamp immigration procedures.

“The machines can read directly the particulars of the individual” from the chip, Malaysian Embas­sy official Kennedy Mayong said.

The innovation comes at a time when Asean is looking to relax travel regulations between its mem­ber states. Burma has al­ready installed Iris’ e-passport system; the company hopes the rest of Asean will soon follow suit.

“The objective is very clear: We’re looking at the Asean re­gion as a market,” the Malaysian Bus­iness Times quoted Iris Chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail as saying. “As long as you get one country to be familiar with and use our technology, then…it follows that other Asean countries will do the same.”

Phnom Penh International Air­port already has “one or two” of the machines, according to May­ong, to accommodate international travelers now carrying the new e-passports.

The project is still in its initial stages, Mayong said. Iris is to send assessment teams to Cam­bodia over the coming months.The company plans to provide 5,000 e-passports and install two “autogate” systems in Phnom Penh, according to the Business Times.

“We’ll sponsor the installation of the structure and the various aspects to demonstrate to the Cam­bodians the usefulness of the e-passports,” Tan Sri Razali Ismail told the Business Times.

Iris specializes in electronic identification systems, and currently runs Malaysia’s “Smart-card” system of identification cards.

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