The statements made by the Transport Minister, Anthony Loke, in his “candid interview” with The Edge is clearly not candid and is based on a flawed understanding of the Malaysian Aviation Commission’s (MAVCOM) role. The Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) commends the MAVCOM for clearing up the misrepresentation of facts made by the Transport Minister despite this being a tumultuous time for the Commission.
Among all the misleading statements made by the Transport Minister during his interview with
The Edge the most audacious one is that “Nobody recognises MAVCOM as the authority for civil aviation”. It is true that MAVCOM is not the authority for the entire civil aviation industry, but is the independent economic regulator of the Malaysian civil aviation industry. Evidently this makes it one of the authorities for civil aviation in Malaysia and it is empowered by its own legislation.
CAP has always been for keeping MAVCOM as an independent, autonomous agency answerable to parliament in order to have a good check and balance in a growing industry that greatly impacts consumers in Malaysia.
We cannot stress this point enough to the public. CAP has also clearly stated this key point to the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in our letter to him dated 10 December 2019. Regretfully we have not yet received a response despite this being a crucial issue for the country.
Let us assume that in the end the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) does take over MAVCOM’s duties and MAVCOM is disbanded. If CAAM cannot function independently, like MAVCOM has been doing all this while, and is instead taking directives from the Transport Ministry then there will be no check and balance and it will only be one regulatory body calling all the shots – and we have seen how badly that has turned out in some cases.
CAP would like to remind the public that the decision made by the Transport Ministry will affect all consumers in Malaysia who want to take flights in the near future. It was MAVCOM that introduced aviation consumer rights and enforced them to protect consumers. To date there is no word if this duty will be taken over by CAAM or if things are going to return to the way they were before when aviation consumers were given the run around by airlines the majority of the time when it came to settling disputes.
MAVCOM has released a statement on their website titled “Clarification on matters contained in the Edge on 23 December 2019”. We believe the Rakyat should read the statement for themselves so that they hear from all parties and not just the Transport Minister. Only then can the Rakyat form an informed opinion on this matter.
Letter to the Editor, 8 January 2020