PETALING JAYA: The Drone Club Malaysia (DCM) is upset over the proposal for a high registration fee for drones saying this will discourage its use.
“We do not support imposing a fee of RM800 or RM500.
“The drone community was not informed or consulted on this matter,” said club president Ahmad Farez Dahlan.
He was responding to a Star report yesterday that the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) proposed to license all drones weighing more than 20kg, with a registration number displayed on the tail.
It has proposed an initial registration fee of RM800 and a renewal fee of RM500 every subsequent year.
Farez said he supported DCA’s efforts to enforce stricter rules and spread greater awareness on height restrictions.
But he hoped DCA would hold consultations with drone flyers to take into consideration their views.
He hoped to work together with DCA to curb illegal drone flying.
Earlier, the Malaysia Unmanned Drones Activist Society also expressed fear that a high fee may discourage owners from registering their devices.
The DCA has stated that owners can only fly drones within their house compounds up to a height of 50m.
It hopes to have its enforcement unit stationed at 21 airports nationwide from early next year to monitor drones. The officers will use radar to detect drone activities and use jammers to seize them.
Under the Civil Aviation Regulations 2016, all drone activities need a DCA flying permit. Flights are capped at a maximum 120m height.
Those flying drones without DCA’s approval can be fined up to RM50,000 or jailed up to three years.
Companies found guilty can be fined up to RM100,000 and its officers jailed for up to six months, or both.
Drone enthusiast Siti Zalikha Abdul Rahman, 26, a passionate photographer and videographer, said the enforcement law for drones was ridiculous.
“The licence fee is also too high and the law too strict,” said Zalikha, who just graduated in electrical engineering from Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka.
“Who wants to buy a drone just to fly it in their compound?” Zalikha asked.
She uses her drone to capture quality photos and videos of scenery.
She said before flying her drone, she would ask around if it was permissible to fly the drone in the area.
Zalikha said she had been doing wedding photography since 2011 and only bought her first drone last year. Flying her drone has become her passion now.
Baharudin Suarnur, 41, a video journalist, was disappointed with the proposed annual fee for drones.
“Most of these drones are used as toys or as a hobby. It’s just like tennis, but I don’t think you would need a permit to play tennis,” Baharudin told FMT.
He said the important thing was to educate drone users to be more responsible.
Jack, a 20-year-old student, uses his drone for his photography and videography.
He said while it was perfectly understandable to have concerns about drones falling out of the sky and injuring someone, the newer drones have collision sensors.
“The government should also provide a map to show the no-fly zones to avoid any misunderstanding with residents or building owners,” he told FMT
Just like Zalikha, Jack usually asks permission from residents before flying his drone.
He said he was now scared to fly his drone due to increased enforcement by the authorities and hopes any registration fees imposed will be reasonably low.