No one recognises Mavcom as civil aviation authority, says Loke

Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook says Mavcom had refused to execute a Cabinet decision and, as a result, is not being invited to attend the ministry’s post-Cabinet meetings.

PETALING JAYA: Transport Minister Loke Siew Fook said that “nobody” recognises the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) — which will soon be merged with another aviation body — as the authority for civil aviation.

In an interview with The Edge, Loke, in defending the decision to disband the body, said most countries only have a single regulator for aviation, that is their civil aviation authority.

This was why the government wanted to empower the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), following its downgrade by the US Federal Aviation Administration, he added.

He said in empowering CAAM, the ministry thought it was the right time to absorb Mavcom into it and “make it a fully empowered and independent civil aviation authority”.

Loke said there were 33 findings in the downgrade which need to be addressed “to really get back to Category 1”.

“Many people may ask, why not the other way around? My answer to that is the world authority, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), recognises CAAM, not Mavcom.

“Nobody recognises Mavcom as the authority for civil aviation.

“It is just an economic regulator created by the Malaysian government, and this model does not apply to many other countries,” he was quoted as saying.

Mavcom was set up under the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 to regulate economic and commercial matters related to civil aviation.

In December, Putrajaya said it would be merged with CAAM.

However, Mavcom will still operate independently for at least another six months before its consolidation because the government would need to repeal or amend some laws as well as discuss the structure and how to transfer Mavcom’s role to CAAM.

Loke also rubbished talk that the CAAM-Mavcom merger was a result of political interference and that his ministry had caved in to corporate lobbying.

He said the ministry obtained the feedback from the industry and that the aviation industry “is not just about airlines”.

“We are not listening to just one company or one particular person. There is no such thing.”

When asked if Mavcom knew of the merger earlier, Loke said he did not have to refer to them as it was “a policy decision”.

Loke went on to reveal that he had “disinvited” Mavcom to the ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting since October, but denied it was done out of anger.

Rather, he said, it was because of their refusal to execute a Cabinet decision.

“If you refuse to execute a Cabinet decision, there is no reason for you to attend our post-Cab meetings, so I stopped inviting them. But we still communicate with them,” he told The Edge.