KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said today that the surplus from RM1 levy imposed on passengers by Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) will be deposited as a fund to develop the aviation industry.

He said the collection will generate approximately RM35 million from 35 million passengers per year to fund Mavcom’s operations.

“There are 59 employees from Mavcom with operational budget of RM25 million a year and the surplus will be used in a good way such as a special training to develop the aviation industry,” he told reporters after a meeting with Mavcom, today.

Loke said Mavcom can only utilise the fund for industry development purposes as it is bound to the Parliament Act.

“Every year, Mavcom has to submit a full report, including its financial report, where every ringgit collected from Mavcom has to be submitted to the Parliament.

“The new government practices high transparency, where all expenses, operation, and result are accountable for full disclosure, especially to parliament,” he added.

The RM1 charge will be imposed on all passengers except for transit passengers, children below 2 years old, and passengers using the Rural Air Services in Sabah and Sarawak, beginning May 1.

Mavcom came under fire from Malaysian Public Transport Users Association (4PAM) president Ajit Johl, who questioned the role of the commission and the RM1 levy it imposes on travellers.

However, a former Steering Committee for Aviation Commission member Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail came out to defend the commission.

He said he was tasked to draw out a framework for an aviation commission and felt compelled to explain Mavcom’s role.

Abdul Ghani who is the former Attorney-General said that that the RM1 levy imposed on passengers by Mavcom when departing from a Malaysian airport is a sound investment for peace of mind.

He said largest beneficiary from Mavcom’s establishment is the travelling public as it acts as an independent regulator and has been entrusted with the responsibility to provide a mechanism for the protection of consumers in the civil aviation industry in Malaysia.

“Today, travellers who fly can rest assured be it automatic add-ons by airlines, post-purchase price increase of tickets, flight delays or even damaged baggage, you can go to Mavcom with your complaints,” he said.

He added complaints to Mavcom have to be responded to within a set timeframe of seven days and resolved within 30 days.

“There is no longer a need to rely on the mercy of commercial entities or being unsure of exactly when conflicts can be resolved,” he said.

He explained that Mavcom offers a service which neither the Ministry of Transport nor the Malaysia Competition Commission offers.