No-fly for drones without permits

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KUALA LUMPUR , Nov 4 — Aviation buffs with a penchant for quadcopters, or drones, will find themselves on the wrong side of the law with their unauthorised use.

Police disclosed the use of such remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicles without a permit is illegal and those using them can be arrested and their equipment seized.

Dang Wangi police chief Assistant Commissioner Zainol Samah said stern action would be taken against those who used drones during gatherings without prior permission.

“There have been incidents of these drones endangering public safety, and even situations where privacy and security are breached,” he said.

With safety as a priority, anyone found operating these drones in a reckless manner would be arrested and the drones seized.

Section 143 of the Civil Aviation Act 1969 stipulates the use of an unmanned aircraft or drone in areas where people are gathered requires approval from authorities.

On the Bersih 5.0 rally expected to be held on November 19, Zainol said police met with the rally’s steering committee yesterday morning to discuss their application.

Among those present were Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah and committee members Datuk S. Ambiga, Mandeep Singh, Shahrul Aman Mohd Saari, Michael Cheah Ern Tien, Toh Kin Woon, Zoe Randhawa, Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, Farhana Abdul Halim, Chan Tsu Chong and Jay Jay Clement Denis.

Zainol said even though Bersih had submitted its notice for an assembly within the stipulated time-frame, it lacked the approval of the site owners, Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

He said the Bersih 5.0 organisers were planning on using Dataran Merdeka as their gathering point, adding that there was another notice received by the police for a rally to be held at the same time and location.

“We received two application notices, from Bersih and Gabungan NGO-NGO Malaysia, both informing us of their intention to have a rally at Dataran Merdeka on November 19,” he said.

“However, both parties have not got City Hall’s approval to use the area. Until the site owners give the green light, the rally would still be considered unlawful.”

Police have also received a tip-off that there could be a third group, calling itself Aman Bersatu, looking to gather on the same day and apparently donning black attire.

“We are not sure who the leader of this ‘black shirts’ group is, and what their reasons are for wanting to be at the rally,” Zainol said.

He said it was also unclear who the “black shirts” were supporting, but action would be taken against anyone from either one of the three groups breaking the law.

“Our main priority is to maintain peace and order, and to the ensure public safety,” he said.

“I strongly urge the public against going for these rallies as stern action will be taken. If needed, police would also block the roads leading to Dataran Merdeka.”

Earlier yesterday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police would take action against anyone who ignored the mayor’s instructions.

“The mayor had decided no party would be allowed to gather,” he said after officiating the Strategising Measures To Combat Serious Crimes forum organised by Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation and Retired Senior Police Officers Association.

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