MoT justifies Mavcom-CAAM merger

The merger is to optimise staff and financials, as well as making the civil aviation industry more competitive

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by TMR FILE

THE decision to merge the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) with the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) is to optimise staff and financials, as well as making the civil aviation industry more competitive, the Transport Ministry (MoT) said.

MoT said, on Dec 11, the Cabinet has approved for Malaysia’s aviation industry regulatory bodies to be placed under one entity, whereby Mavcom will be dissolved and its key functions are to be transferred to CAAM.

“The rationalisation initiative of the civil aviation regulation under one entity will not only optimise existing human capital and financials, but it will also improve administrative efficiency and the quality of delivery. The move is in line with the government’s policy to rationalise the public sector, particularly to improve the delivery system efficiency of government agencies,” it said in a statement yesterday.

At the same time, MoT said the initiative would encourage civil aviation industry development to be more competitive internationally. MoT added that the government is committed in ensuring the development of the civil aviation sector to be modern, sustainable, safe and efficient, in tandem with the National Transport Policy 2019-2030.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke (picture) said in a press conference that Mavcom would operate as usual for six months at least, pending the Dewan Rakyat approval to amend related law on Mavcom.

The Malaysian Reserve reported in February that Mavcom could be dissolved, a similar approach to the dissolution of the Land Public Transport Commission.

Mavcom was formed on March 1, 2016, under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 (Act 771). The Department of Civil Aviation, or DCA — an agency under MoT — was incorporated into a statutory body namely CAAM effective Feb 19, 2018, under the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia Act 2017 (Act 788).

The CAAM incorporation was in line with the requirements by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, a United Nations’ specialised agency, which has called upon contracting states to the Chicago Convention to establish an autonomous civil aviation authority to ensure efficient management of the safety and security of civil aviation.

Simply put, at present Mavcom is responsible for economic and consumer issues of the civil aviation sector, while CAAM oversees technical issues such as safety, maintenance and security.

Meanwhile, Mavcom executive chairman Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi said he is disappointed with the merger decision, claiming that the body was not consulted over the matter.

“I am disappointed that such a decision was made with seeming disdain and without (any) consultation with us. It reflects poorly on those involved in this decision,” Nungsari said in a statement yesterday.

The Mavcom-CAAM integration decision came on the heels of the audit by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that downgraded CAAM to Category 2 Regulator.

Malaysia joins, among others, Bangladesh, Ghana, Costa Rica, Thailand and Curacao in Category 2, where airlines licensed by CAAM will not be able to add new routes to and from the US.

CAAM admitted that some shortcomings existed and requested the FAA to do a reassessment within the next 12 months to regain Category 1 status.

Meanwhile, Mavcom struggles to mediate the draggy dispute between AirAsia Group Bhd and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd on the back of introducing the new Regulatory Asset Base framework.

As it is, MoT said Act 771 will be repealed to enable Mavcom’s functions to be transferred, while Act 788 to be amended.

MoT said most positions involving expertise in various fields at Mavcom will be parked under CAAM.

MoT added that CAAM will be restructured to take into account new additional roles and it will discuss with the Finance Ministry, Public Service Department and the Attorney General’s Chamber on its structure, functions, jurisdiction, financials and few others.

Nungsari said he will now focus on two things — to look after the welfare of the staff and to hand over Mavcom’s statutory role.

“I am very proud of the team at Mavcom, a blend of experience and highly talented young people, who have performed with integrity and professionalism to improve both the standards of service, as well as the regulatory framework in the industry. My heart goes out to them,” he said.