MACC report lodged against ex-Mavcom official

Eaglexpress president Captain Azlan Zainal Abidin (right) and Suasa Airlines CEO Captain Sheikh Salleh Abod after lodging the MACC report.

KUALA LUMPUR: Two aviation company bosses have lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) against a former senior Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) official alleging abuse of power.

Speaking to FMT, Eaglexpress president Captain Azlan Zainal Abidin and Suasa Airlines CEO Captain Sheikh Salleh Abod claimed the official had, on separate occasions, made demands that he had no right to in dealing with them.

Salleh said in the case of Suasa Airlines, the company was cited by Mavcom for a non-commercial demonstration flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi in 2016 which did not have an air service permit (ASP).

This led to a dispute with Mavcom as Suasa had already received approval from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) for the non-commercial flight.

Salleh claimed the official suggested, as a solution, that Suasa make a fresh application for the necessary licences under a new company but that Salleh could not be part of this new company.

“Initially I disagreed but I relented, thinking that I could come on board later on. After the two board members told the official we agreed, he told them of a new condition, to list his nephew as a director and shareholder of the new company,” said Salleh, adding that he could not accept this.

Meanwhile, Azlan said he wanted MACC to investigate why the official had allegedly discriminated against Eaglexpress.

He said Mavcom revoked Eaglexpress’ ASP because it failed to increase its cash level to RM30 million, the equivalent of two months’ of projected operating costs for 2016, as provided by the airline itself, by Nov 30, 2016.

“Our competitors also didn’t meet the same requirement, yet were allowed to continue operations,” he claimed, declining to reveal the name of the other airlines.

He said after Eaglexpress’ licence was revoked, two company representatives had a meeting with the same official in question.

He claimed the official told the duo to apply for a new licence under a new company, but that Azlan could not be part of that company.

Azlan also claimed that the official refused to divulge why he couldn’t be part of the new company.

Both Salleh and Azlan said they wanted MACC to investigate if the official had abused his power.

They previously claimed they had suffered hundreds of millions of ringgit in losses due to the way they were treated by Mavcom.

FMT has contacted the former official for comment and is awaiting a response.

Mavcom, meanwhile, told FMT it was unaware of any MACC report lodged against the official nor have Mavcom officials been contacted by MACC.

“If and when required Mavcom will fully cooperate with MACC,” said the commission in a statement.