MCO: Drones should stay home too

  • Drones
  • Monday, 30 Mar 2020

Drones are being deployed by authorities to monitor MCO compliance and even to sanitise Covid-19 hotspot areas. — NORAFIFI EHSAN/The Star

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) said drone users need to be more compliant with flying regulations during the movement control order (MCO), as those flouting the rules could endanger the public.

It said all pilots of drones and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) need to get the go-ahead from them before doing any surveillance, broadcasting, commercial or recreational flying.

A CAAM spokesperson said it had noted many violations in the last few weeks, including people taking advantage of the quiet during MCO, broadcasters flying without permits, and civilian volunteers trying to monitor people that were not staying at home.

“We would like to stress that if a UAS/drone operation is carried out without the CAAM’s authorisation, it may cause a hazard to other airspace users and endanger the public,” they said.

Pilots could apply for permission using an authorisation form, or find out about requirements needed, from the CAAM website.

The CAAM also advised pilots delivering dangerous goods by air, like biological samples, to get a dangerous goods permit.

Those found guilty of violating the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulations 2016 (MCAR 2016) could face a minimum penalty of RM50,000, three years’ prison or both for individuals – or a maximum fine of RM100,000 for companies.

Separately, the Armed Forces were also deploying drones for monitoring, especially in Covid-19 hotspot areas.

Its chief Jen Tan Sri Affendi Buang said drones would enable more efficient patrolling and monitoring, adding that some of the units used were government assets while some were lent by local players.

Based on the footage, the Armed Forces could identify those violating the MCO or deploy personnel to problem areas.

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