Does a rise in complaints to MAVCOM mean an increase in awareness?

The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) refers to a recent statement by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (MAVCOM) in regards to the complaints they have received this year so far. We are sceptical that an increase in complaints to the commission by a whopping 38.1% is an actual indication of an increase in “consumer awareness”.

It is claimed in the statement that 99.4 per cent of the complaints received by MAVCOM are resolved; and out of all those complaints the airlines decided to reverse their decision for only 53 per cent of those complaint cases. This means that 46.4 (nearly half) of the resolved complaints were not resolved in the consumers’ favour.

If we look at MAVCOM’s Consumer Report for the period of January 2018 to June 2018, we can see that there is a significant increase in complaints against some airlines compared to the same period last year – the highest being Malaysia Airlines which went from 317 last year to 427 this year (increase by 110 cases) and next being Air Asia which went from 121 last year to 192 this year (increase by 71 cases).

It seems more likely that instead of an increase in awareness, the increase in the number of complaints received by MAVCOM could actually mean that there is a decrease in the quality of the service provided by our airlines.

CAP has also received a complaint that the price of domestic flights is so much more expensive in comparison to flying internationally – we compared the cost of flying from Penang to Subang and Penang to Singapore for reference. Another complaint we received is that there are some budget airlines charging the same fare as each other for certain domestic flight routes.

Naturally, we are taking up these issues with MAVCOM as well as the Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC).

CAP hopes that the number of complaints to MAVCOM will decline in the near future and that it will reflect an increase in the quality of service provided by our airlines.

We also advise the public to read the Malaysian Aviation Consumer Protection Code (which can be obtained at MAVCOM’s website) so that they aware of their rights when dealing with airlines.


Press Statement, 20 September 2018