Ahmad Nizar quits as CAAM chief executive

PETALING JAYA: Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar (pic), the chief executive officer of the Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia (CAAM), has resigned on Nov 1,10 days before Malaysia’s downgrade to Category 2 becomes effective.

His resignation was announced by the CAAM chairman Capt Ahmad Ridzwan Mohd Salleh in press statement on Monday.

Ahmad Nizar first joined the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in May 1983 as an air traffic controller. He was rated and licensed in Aerodrome, Approach, Area and Radar, and was a qualified search and rescue (SAR) mission coordinator.

He earned his Bachelor of Science from Universiti Malaya in 1983 and also holds a Master of Science in Air Transport Management from Cranfield University, United Kingdom.

After DCA was changed to the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) on Feb 19,2018, Ahmad Nizar was appointed CEO, where he is one of the key driving force to make CAAM into a fully autonomous body by 2020.

As the only technical regulator in Malaysia with the primary function of regulating the safety and security of civil aviation, CAAM’s task is to ensure efficient management of the safety and security of the civil aviation.

In the earlier days his career, Ahmad Nizar was actively involved in all aspects of air traffic control (ATC), air traffic management and ATC operations, search and rescue, as well as in training air traffic controllers.

During his 36 years with DCA, he has held various director positions from 2000 till 2016, including director of airport standards, director of air traffic services inspectorate, director of Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre, and finally, director of air traffic management sector.

On top of that, he also chaired the bilateral Aviation Consultative Meetings between Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to discuss bilateral airspace operational issues.

At the same time, he also co-chaired the Civil and Military Coordination Committees to discuss civil and military airspace issues.

In 2007, Ahmad Nizar was posted as an aviation attaché at International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Montreal, Canada, where he helped Malaysia to successfully lobby to be a first-time member in the ICAO council.

During the MH370 (a MAS aircraft that went missing) and MH17 (where a MAS aircraft was shot down over Ukraine) incidents, he was a member of the high level technical team in Beijing, and he has continued to coordinate the search for MH370 to this very day.

Ahmad Nizar is also a member of the task force on risk to civil aviation associated with conflict zones set up by ICAO after MH17, and was involved in the work of the technical committees.

This is not the first time that a top civil aviation regulator resigned.

On July 31,2018, CAAM chairman Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abd Rahman tendered his resignation following the public release of the final report by the international safety and investigation team a day earlier over the disappearance of MH370 and all 239 persons on board.

“While the final report does not suggest that the accident is caused by the Department of Civil Aviation then, nevertheless, there were some very apparent findings with regards to the operations of the Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre, where it was stated that the air traffic controller did not comply with certain standard operating procedures, ” he had said in a press statement on July 31,2018.

This FAA downgrade is low point for Malaysian aviation, given the Transport Ministry’s euphoria after Malaysia was voted into the ICAO council for the period 2019-2022 just last month after it garnered 81% of the votes at the 40th ICAO general assembly.

That marks Malaysia’s fifth consecutive term since 2007.

ICAO works with the convention’s 193 member states and industry groups to reach consensus on international civil aviation standards, and recommend practices and policies in support of a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector.

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