UPDATE: DCA issues a statement to refute TheStar’s report.
According to TheStar, The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) will be taking action on illegal drone flying in Malaysia. Apparently, if you don’t have a permit, you are not permitted to fly your drone beyond your home compound.
The DCA is said to be taking serious action against unlawful drone activities beginning next year. They will be monitoring the airspace at all 21 airports throughout the country and will not hesitate to take down any drone using high-frequency jammers.
According to the DCA, all drone activities even for both recreational and commercial use would require a flying permit. All flights must be capped at 120m, which is about 393 feet in height. They added that there are laws in place but the lack of enforcement gave the impression that no permit was required to fly a drone.
If found guilty, individuals can be fined up to RM50,000, jailed up to 3 years, or both. Meanwhile, unlawful flights by companies can be fined up to RM100,000, jailed up to 6 months, or both.
For those who plan to fly without a permit, you may only do so in your own home compound while not exceeding 50m in height. Beyond that, you’ll need to apply for a DCA permit. According to the DCA spokesman in the report, drones are prohibited from flying within 7km radius of an airport, royal palaces and telco base stations. For the first two prohibited locations, it makes sense but 7km from a telco base station would probably render almost all places as no-fly zones since telcos would overlap their existing coverage with multiple base stations. In addition to that, KLCC and Putrajaya are also designated no-fly zones for security purposes.
Registration of drones isn’t very clear at the moment and DCA is still planning to make it compulsory to register all drones in two years time. They suggested a one-time registration fee of RM800 and a renewal fee of RM500 per year. They added that all drones must carry a registration number on the tail, which is similar to an aircraft.
At the moment, only drones weighing more than 20kg would require registration. According to the DCA’s FAQ page, it was indicated there’s a RM250 fee for a permit to fly a drone weighing below 20kg and RM1,000 for drones than weigh more than 20kg.
With drones becoming more accessible to the general public, not many countries are regulating its use clearly. Just recently, a Malaysian was sentenced to two months jail for flying a drone in Myanmar.
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