Malaysia’s Aurat Air–Regulatory Incompetence

May 23, 2016

Malaysia’s Aurat Air:  Regulatory Incompetence

by Mariam Mokhtar

Did the government simply rubber-stamp Rayani Air’s license to operate, without conducting detailed checks, including its cash-flow analysis and break-even point?

Mr. A A Kaprawi

The statement by  Deputy Transport Minister Dato Abdul Aziz Kaprawi that the government will “be more stringent and impose a stricter standard operating procedure on all airlines” should set alarm bells ringing. It suggests that the government acted with haste and was extremely complacent.

So, how deeply committed is our government to safety and good management practices? Rayani Air is Malaysia’s first syariah compliant airline, but like any other airline, it must comply with rules and regulations.

Starting an airline is not merely about buying or leasing aeroplanes, then painting them in the new livery. Nor is it about finding the pilots, ground and cabin crew, engineers, and other personnel, to operate an airline.

Providing halal food, prayers before take-off and on landing, not serving alcohol, and staff who cover their aurat will not make an airline popular. Good and reliable service, efficient and friendly staff, well maintained planes, popular routes and accessible airports are part and parcel of a good airline experience.

Like any other business, Rayani Air’s owners would need funding and would have provided a business plan, to satisfy its backers or the bank. Did Rayani Air not do enough homework with regards to long-term funding? It cannot run Rayani Air for a few months, and hope that revenue from sales will enable it to continue. Even a simple home-based business does not operate like that.

When Rayani Air soared above Kuala Lumpur, in December, many people were sceptical because few people choose a certain airline, because it serves halal food. They base their judgement on the price, good safety record and reliability.

The Con-Artists of Aurat Air

Within months, the airline was dogged with delays, cancellations, a cracked cockpit windscreen and maintenance issues. Amongst other things, passengers were furious that their boarding passes were not printed.

Passengers were forced to travel on a coach service provided by the airline, although they would have preferred to be put on a later flight. Delays were common and stories about 485 employees not being paid, were leaked to the press.

Things came to a head on April 11, when Rayani Air’s Air Operation Certificate (AOC) was suspended, for three months, after it temporarily halted its operations following a pilot strike. The airline had failed to seek the Department of Civil Aviation’s (DCA) permission before ceasing operations.

Instead of dealing with the criticism of the passengers and staff, Rayani Air’s Chief Executive Officer, Ravi Alagendrran, said that the cracked windscreen was due to sabotage. He did not bother to wait for the results of an investigation. His statement attracted bad publicity, because it suggested that the airline had enemies.

He later retracted this statement, but he had introduced doubt in people’s minds about safety and security. The shattered windscreen was spotted by pilots, before the flight took off. Passengers may have wondered whether the alleged saboteur had damaged a vital piece of equipment, in a hidden part of the aeroplane and the fault was not detected in time.

The CEO’s statement about sabotage, probably infuriated the people managing Langkawi airport, as passengers wondered if security in the airport was lax.

According to The Malay Mail Online, pilots had refused to fly because the company’s two aircraft had structural faults. The airframe, which is the aircraft’s mechanical structure, that  includes its fuselage, wings and undercarriage, was unsafe.

Perhaps, the blame should not rest solely with the airline bosses. The government and the DCA are also to blame. They gave Rayani Air the go-ahead. They rubber-stamped the permit to fly, without checking the safety and viability of the aeroplanes, and funding to operate, for more than three months.

The government must tell would be business owners not to commercialise Islam. The government must stop deluding itself and thinking that a syariah compliant service need not follow normal business guidelines. It is not God’s will that makes an airline safe, but man’s endeavour. –


9 thoughts on “Malaysia’s Aurat Air–Regulatory Incompetence

  1. In the first place, why did this Airlines made it ‘SYARIAH COMPLIANT’ when they are not even Muslims? Is it because these husband and wife partnership are trying to exploit Islam at the expanse of Muslims? So now they are experiencing the pain for being syariah compliant.

    Many businesses are going syariah compliant to please the religious extremists. It’s in the news today to read about eggs being halal. Last month on supermarket trolleys tagged HALAL. I am really perplexed as to the extremism these religious bigots practice and business people exploiting the situation for their selfish ends.

    Three girls poking fun of Hindu Deity is going viral in the face book which the chronicle carried out with clear faces of those girls for the authorities to take action. Will there be an action to teach the right morals to those who still don’t understand the multi-racial society practicing diversified cultures and traditions in our country? Do our schools play the right role with all the religious teachings being spent hours to turn them to be good citizens?

    The pictures of these girls speak a lot of our Education system. It’s a pity that our country has gone down the drain to this level today. ( Please go to Malaysia Chronicle to view the picture to let go your frustration)


  2. If Rayani Air was allowed to continue operating, I guess the the term “God willing” in it’s Islamic form would be very appropriate. Passengers will be praying “God willing”, the airline will issue proper printed boarding passes to “God willing”, the pilots wil turn up for work to “God willing”, the cockpit windscreen is not shattered to “God willing”, the plane is safe to take off to finally “God willing”, the plane won’t crash. The holy prayers on board will take care of the last one. Rayani Air should have a new slogan that says ” We pray we will fly, God Willing”.

  3. The airline business is complex and risky, so incompetence is understandable for our mediocre leaders. But how do you explain the incompetence of something they are suppose to be experts in such as religion and the law for instance Jamil Baharom saying banning unilateral conversion us against Article 12(4) that says no such thing? Unilateral conversion violates the first article that says everyone is equal before the law. Article 12(4) assumes there is no unilateral conversion, so how does it get violated? Such simple things they cannot get right, an airline business screwed up is understandable.

  4. Does the Government / DCA / the husband and wife Rayani team actually thought that by saying Rayani Air was Syariah-compliant Allah would be running it behind the scene?

    It would be unthinkable that Allah would let an airline that complies strictly with His Laws crash with multiple lost of innocent lives. Surely not?

    Perhaps a World wide study be done on how many fatal car crashes involved cars / lorries, etc, that have those religious figurines / prayers hanging from the rear view mirror? If God really does give protection, then the number of crashes should be zero?

  5. Syariah-compliant hotels appearing in Malaysia:

    Corrupt politicians who steal from the people are not allowed to check in ?

    1Malaysia going down the road of religion-based apartheid ?

  6. First they have Halal water, then now it’s halal eggs, then halal shopping carts and coming soon halal ringgit to be used by Muslims only. Non Muslims cannot use the halal ringgit. Halal ringgit cannot be used to pay for non halal merchandise, alcohol, beer and for payment in non halal stores and restaurants. Halal ringgits will have the following printed on it “Hanya Sah di perlakukan untuk dagangan halal sahaja ”
    The UMNO Malays have nothing better to do and that is why they are halal obsessed. Najib’s corruption has been made halal by the Ulamaks since the USD681 million is from the Saudi King who is the Keeper of The Holy City of Mekkah. The Perak Pope, Harussani Zakaria, must have given his blessing.–Din Merican

  7. Coming soon to 1Malaysia ? Obsessed with food, alcohol, dress — but not with very corrupt politicians who steal vast sums of money from public funds.

    1. Syariah-compliant public transport — passengers wearing shorts and short skirts cannot get on board. No alcohol or pork products can be brought aboard the bus or train.

    2. Syariah-compliant clinics and hospitals — alcohol swabs not permitted on premise, medical supplies derived from porcine sources are totally banned. Patients must be appropriately dressed at all times – no “revealing” medical gowns can be worn by the patients. No problem if doctors and nurses have to fumble around to treat the patients.

    3. Syariah-compliant private colleges and universities – no non-halal foods and or alcohol allowed on site. No shorts or short skirts can be worn by students.

    4. Syariah-compliant housing estates — no cooking or consumption of non-halal foods and alcohol are allowed within the housing estate. Residents are not allowed to wear shorts or short skirts outside their homes, not even within their own gardens and compounds.

  8. PKL – why bother with halal this and halal that ad nauseum. Just one item will do – halal country. All non-Muslims to be deported, exiled, extradited, exported, expelled or otherwise ejected from Malaysia.

  9. Why does this not surprise me? Malaysia is truly the land for all possibilities and opportunities, not USA! And, sadly, our politicians have made her a paragon for the phrase “bottomless pit of stupidity”.

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