No permit, no drones allowed

Police will not hesitate to take action against those flying drones in restricted areas. (For illustration only)

KUCHING: Flying drones in restricted areas without a permit during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) period will result in legal action taken by the police.

Datuk Aidi Ismail

Sarawak Police Commissioner Datuk Aidi Ismail said permission to fly drones can only be obtained from the police, while the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) handles the issuance of flying permits.

“If they are caught flying their drones without permits or flying in restricted areas or are disturbing others, we will take legal action against them,” he said when contacted.

Asked on what are the restricted areas for flying drones in Kuching, Aidi stated that it includes areas near the airport, the vicinity of security forces (police and army headquarters), and others.

The penalty includes a minimum fine of RM50,000 and/or three years of imprisonment for an individual; or a fine not exceeding RM100,000 for a corporate body, if found liable.

A drone being flown near the airport, which is a restricted area. (For illustration only)

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Kuching said that all applications for drone permits are handled by their headquarters in Putrajaya.

“Getting flying permits for drones is a normal procedure even before the CMCO.

“There are certain procedures when wanting to fly drones — they first have to get the permit from Department of Survey and Mapping Malaysia (JUPEM) and then to CAAM,” the spokesperson said.

However, if one is flying a small drone around their house, it is tolerable and does not require a permit.

It is understood that drones weighing more than 20kg may not be flown without permission from CAAM.

Fees for permits are as — according to Civil Aviation (Fees and Charges) Regulations 2016 — RM250 per permit for drones weighing below 20kg; and RM1,000 per permit for drones weighing more than 20kg.