KUALA LUMPUR: An aviation expert has urged Putrajaya to include all stakeholders in reforming the civil aviation sector, in the wake of a spat between an airline regulator and industry players.
Aerospace engineer Rizal Kamaruzzaman said the government should take heed of industry players as they were involved in the day-to-day operations of the airlines.
Rizal, who has acted as a consultant for both the government and the private sector, said it was also important to understand the requirements of the aviation industry over the next five to 10 years, to allow an effective aviation ecosystem infrastructure to be put in place.
“It is important to remember that this directly impacts not only the aviation sector but also other key sectors including tourism.
“A huge percentage of the 26 million visitors that arrived last year spent over RM25 billion on shopping alone and took a flight to get here.
“Coupled with the fact that according to official estimates, the tourism sector is responsible for directly and indirectly employing 1.7 million people in Malaysia, there is a lot at stake,” he said in a statement.
Rizal’s advice comes a day after two aviation companies, Eaglexpress and Suasa Airlines, alleged that the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) under the previous administration had treated them unfairly, resulting in hundreds of millions in losses.
They also called for the Pakatan Harapan government to abolish Mavcom, which has denied being biased.
Two days ago, AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes said Mavcom had failed to protect passengers’ rights following its plans to charge them the same airport tax for both KLIA and klia2.
Rizal said with or without Mavcom, the government had the perfect opportunity to reform the civil aviation sector and achieve the best return on taxpayers’ money.
“Malaysia has the ability to compete on a regional and global level as it’s strategically located and is able to offer a competitive cost-benefit structure that is superior to other regional competitors,” he said.