Framework to regulate drone industry to be ready next year

21 Oct 2019 / 16:07 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: A framework to regulate the drone industry should be ready by next year so that Malaysia does not lose out in business and investment opportunities, says Deputy Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Hatta Md Ramli (pix).

Mohd Hatta said a few rounds of discussions to implement new approaches to drone regulations have been held among the Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM), the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, Transport Ministry and local drone players.

However, he said the decision should be finalised by next year as the commercial drone industry is rapidly evolving and all must work together to take advantage of the potential benefits of these technologies to society while also managing their risks.

“The actual role of the government is to facilitate to make things easier for the players in the industry. Thus, it is incumbent for us to move faster to finalise the detailed regulations.

“I would be surprised if it’s not finalised by next year,“ he told reporters after officiating the Global Drone Conference and Hackathon 2019 here today.

Mohd Hatta said the ministry expects more local entrepreneurs to join the drone industry once the framework is finalised.

He said as drone technologies evolve and advance at lightning speed, regulators from around the world, including Malaysia, are challenged to keep pace with effective policies that protect populations while giving as much support as possible to the aviation ecosystem.

He said the ministry will consider incentives to be given for companies which are actively involved in this rapidly-growing industry to upscale their businesses.

“I think we can find some sort of incentives for industry players, especially those that have proven their potential,“ he said.

He pointed out that currently there are 15 local companies involved in the drone industry.

“Therefore it is time for more locals to venture into non-traditional businesses such as the commercial drone sector,“ he said.

“This will also create opportunities for work in other Asean countries who are also seeing a demand in the use of drone technology,“ he said.

Aerodyne Group chief executive officer Kamarul Muhammad had previously said there is no clear framework for commercial drone operations in Malaysia.

Among others, he said getting approval took too much time and required users to apply anew for every operation unlike in the United Kingdom and Australia where drone operators apply for highly regulated one-off licences which are subject to revocation if the operator flouts the laws.

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