PUTRAJAYA has labelled as official secret the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) report that details the downgrading of Malaysia’s aviation safety.
“Yes, the US FAA assessment report is classified as rahsia (secret),” a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia (CAAM) tells FocusM.
The Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) permits the Malaysian government to classify any document as secret and jail those who release such information for up to seven years.
US FAA cut Malaysia to a Category 2 nation on Nov 11 after finding that CAAM failed to meet International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.
But the US aviation safety authority has also not made public its findings on CAAM. “The process used by the FAA to determine the IASA rating for Malaysia is provided in the two links below as well as our most recent press release on Malaysia. We do not provide the information used to determine the rating,” US FAA tells FocusM.
The International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme had been established by the US FAA to help it evaluate a country’s civil aviation authority and whether that country abides by ICAO safety standards, among others.
One possible way to access the US FAA report is through the US’ Freedom of Information Act.
The FAA conducted an in-country reassessment of Malaysia under the IASA programme in April 2019, and met with the CAAM in July to discuss the results.
But the US FAA, in a Nov 11 statement, found the CAAM “deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record-keeping, and/or inspection procedures.”
In 2003, Malaysia was assigned a Category 1 rating, meaning CAAM complied with ICAO safety standards. With a Category 2 rating, Malaysian carriers “can continue existing service” to the US but not establish new service there, said the US FAA.
This puts Malaysia in the same group as regional peers Bangladesh and Thailand as well as Costa Rica, Curacao and Ghana.
Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke is working towards a merger between CAAM and independent regulator Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom). The self-imposed deadline for the merger is earliest June this year, pending approval from the Dewan Rakyat.