Brunei is mulling new regulations on the use of drones, local media sources reported March 13.
According to The Brunei Times, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) of the Ministry of Communications indicated in a statement that it recognizes the innovative potential of drones and was in consultations with stakeholders in developing and reviewing a regulatory framework their use.
“This regulatory framework will address the safety and security concerns and risks associated with the use of UAs [unmanned aircraft],” the department said in a statement.
However, the bulk of the statement was intended to remind the public that as of now, the launching of any drones – unmanned aircraft (UA), unmanned aerial vehicles, and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) – is strictly prohibited.
“Nevertheless, the DCA would like to seek the cooperation from the public to adhere to the existing Civil Aviation Order for the safety and security of the air navigation,” the statement said.
According to the statement, flying drones is a prohibited activity under Section 21 of Civil Aviation Order 2006. The DCA stressed that drones can pose a number of safety and security risks to air navigation, controlled airspace and densely-populated areas. It also added that anyone failing to comply with any provision of the Order would be subject to a fine not exceeding $50,000 and imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both, in accordance with Section 51. Exemptions, however, are granted by the DCA on a case-by-case basis.
Like other countries in Southeast Asia, Brunei is struggling to regulate the proliferation of drones which have many civilian applications beyond their military uses that often grab the headlines – from regulating illegal poaching to crop monitoring – but also pose privacy and safety concerns. Earlier this year, The Brunei Times reported that Teleconsult Sdn Bhd had developed SkyEye – software that allows users to change the standard movement capabilities of drones to closely audit towers that meets the needs of the telecommunications industry.
Last month, The Diplomat reported that Cambodia had banned drones from the airspace of the country’s capital without approval just days after a German national had flown a camera-equipped drone over the country’s royal palace and alarmed the queen who was in the courtyard.