Govt in talks with CAAM on air mobility regulation

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By BERNAMA

Putrajaya is currently in talks with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) to draft a regulatory framework to legalise the air mobility industry in Malaysia.

Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof (picture) said the government has prepared a draft law to regulate the industry prior to the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019.

It was later brought to the National Development Council and is now being discussed with CAAM and other stakeholders such as Malaysia Airlines Bhd.

“At the moment, there is no law which enables us to board a flying car or anything of that sort. The existing laws do not permit it.

“Therefore, the government is now working to create an ecosystem to develop the industry and has engaged CAAM to draft a law on it,” Mohd Redzuan told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday in his winding-up speech on the royal address.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (Barisan Nasional-Ayer Hitam) who asked if the government would provide satellite technology support for entrepreneurs involved in developing drone technologies.

Currently, the likes of Malaysian-owned Aerodyne Group — recognised as the fourth-largest company in the world to develop drone technologies — are not allowed to carry out business activities in Malaysia. The company has a base in the country on the development of artificial intelligence (AI).

“They are only allowed to operate and do business in 26 countries, including the US and Russia. Recently, Aerodyne signed an agreement with a group entity in Japan which encompass the entire air mobility industry and it did not involve any funds from the government.

“Yes, it has created excitement in the country. The government has also formulated a draft law to allow this air mobility industry to be developed and we are calling all our Malaysian entrepreneurs to build this industry here,” Mohd Redzuan said.

He said Malaysia has the AI know-how which is recognised globally and need not rely on technology transfers.

“We have expertise that is superior than others. With the potential that we have, the government is now forced to create an ecosystem to develop this air mobility industry,” he added.

Mohd Redzuan also cited Australia, where permissions to fly a drone can be made online with a minimal fee of A$10 (RM28.90) inclusive of insurance.

“In Putrajaya, it takes at least 20 days to get the approval. Other countries can do it instantly online.

“If we provide that space for the air mobility industry to develop, then we can talk about other aspects such as satellite infrastructure and laws.

“Right now, the aviation industry is a completely different sector,” he said.

The government’s plans to launch a flying car have become a subject of mockery since it was announced.

Mohd Redzuan, whose ministry also oversees the development of the third national car, said a prototype vehicle is expected to be revealed later this year.

However, he said the development of the flying car is a private-funded initiative.

Both Mohd Redzuan and Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming previously stated that the government has no intentions on building a vehicle, but to create standards and regulations in anticipation of a next-generation vehicle.