Time to give Mavcom the axe, says transport expert

Mavcom’s failure to resolve the dispute over passenger service charges is one of the reasons it should be disbanded, says 4PAM.

PETALING JAYA: A transport expert has welcomed news that the government may disband the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), saying the regulator has failed to live up to its objectives.

Transport consultant Rosli Khan was responding to a report by The Malaysian Reserve, which quoted sources as saying Mavcom might be disbanded, with its functions expected to return to the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) and the aviation division of the transport ministry.

The report said factors being taken into consideration include Mavcom’s high operation costs and the renumeration packages of the commission’s management.

Rosli said Mavcom had failed the industry as well as air travellers in terms of ensuring a level playing field to encourage healthier competition between airlines.

“Mavcom is a clear example of a policy that was not well thought out by the previous government.

“It should not be a financial burden on the current administration,” he said, adding that CAAM and the government’s aviation division had done a better job of regulating the industry before Mavcom’s inception four years ago.

Calls for a level playing field in the aviation sector came amid reports that AirAsia was collecting less than the required amount in passenger service charges (PSC).

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd took AirAsia to court over the issue, while AirAsia has filed a countersuit for alleged operational disruptions at klia2.

The Malaysian Public Transport Users Association (4PAM) agreed that Mavcom should be axed, noting its failure to resolve AirAsia’s dispute with MAHB.

“As a regulator, Mavcom should be regulating both AirAsia and MAHB. It should have stepped in and resolved the dispute so that it need not go to court.

“If Mavcom cannot resolve the dispute, what purpose does it serve?” said 4PAM president Ajit Johl.

In the event that Mavcom is disbanded, Ajit suggested that the government set up a public transport tribunal to take over its function of looking into customer complaints.

He proposed a specific body like the Ombudsman for Financial Services, given the many players and customers involved in public transport.

Eaglexpress president Azlan Zainal Abidin, who previously cried foul over Mavcom’s treatment of the chartered airline which resulted in millions in losses, agreed that disbanding the commission would be a good move.

“It would reduce the government’s spending and increase efficiency,” he said, noting that some of Mavcom’s functions would return to CAAM.

“Almost everything will be under one roof.”

Former Malaysia Airlines CEO Abdul Aziz Rahman, however, said the commission was necessary to ensure proper regulation of the aviation industry.

“In fact, Mavcom should be strengthened rather than disbanded so that it can play its role more effectively,” he said.

If the government felt that the people running Mavcom were not performing, he added, it should have them replaced.

“But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

Former deputy transport minister Ab Aziz Kaprawi agreed that abolishing Mavcom would be a step backwards, saying it is an independent commission with the relevant expertise and less open to political interference than CAAM and the aviation division.

“Doing away with Mavcom is not a wise move.”