KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Government should come up with a plan to ensure the nation’s aviation industry is upgraded following the downgrade in rating to Category 2 by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
The MCA president said there must be discussions on the next course of action to ensure that Malaysia’s air safety rating was upgraded to Category 1 within the next 12 months.“The reality now is that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) has been downgraded to Category 2, which is similar to Thailand, Costa Rica and Ghana.
“It is of utmost importance for the government to acknowledge these weaknesses and overcome them.
“What if one day, China, India and European Union’s (aviation authorities) also come to audit CAAM, ” Dr Wee told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
Transportation, he added, was one of the catalysts for economic growth.
“When our transportation sector grows, that means business is good, ” he said.
“If you cannot have more routes to the US, do you think our country can export our goods as we wish?”
To a question that there were shortcomings in areas such as legislative and human resources which were from the previous years, Dr Wee said the FAA had not downgraded the CAAM before.
“My answer is very straightforward. During Barisan Nasional’s rule, it was categorised as Category 1. Given whatever shortcomings they have, CAAM was still graded as category 1 and under Pakatan Harapan now, after 18 months, we have been downgraded.
“Don’t tell me this was inherited from the previous government. People are sick of these excuses, ” he said.
The CAAM said it would be able to bounce back as Category 1 Aviation Regulator by the FAA in 12 months, adding they would address matters raised during the audit.
The body, however, emphasised that the downgrade was about the regulatory authority and not any airline.
The listing of CAAM as Category 2 Aviation Regulator by the FAA came into effect on Monday following a review conducted in April this year.
The effect of the listing meant that airlines licensed by CAAM would not be able to add new routes to and from the United States.
On a separate matter, MCA dismissed talk that it was a member of “muafakat nasional”, a cooperation pact between Umno and PAS.
Dr Wee reiterated the party was merely upholding the spirit of cooperation among the opposition parties.
“We support the party that upholds the Federal Constitution. The Federal Constitution upholds the elements of diversity and harmony and that is the core for us in Barisan Nasional.
“So we support in the name of opposition solidarity. Do not think that it is a party because we support the spirit of solidarity, ” he said when asked to comment on his opening speech at a Barisan-PAS ceramah last Wednesday, where he had referred to muafakat nasional as a form of opposition solidarity.
Dr Wee said the “muafakat nasional” was a concept and not a party that required membership.
“You cannot be so naive to think it is a party, ” he added. -The Star