Malaysia Rejects Idea
of Arming Pilots: Minister (25
(KUALA LUMPUR) The Malaysian government has rejected the idea
of arming airline pilots with guns as a means of countering hijacking,
according to Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik.
Malaysia would use other measures to ensure security in the air,
including installing locks on cockpit doors as suggested by the
International Air Transport Association.
The Malaysia Airlines Pilots Association, representing 85 per
cent of pilots in the country, has also rejected the idea of carrying
guns, saying it would be a futile exercise.
The state of affairs in Malaysia was not conducive to implementing
the use of firearms as Malaysians were generally unfamiliar with
the use of weapons.
Earlier this month, the US House of Representatives passed a
Bill allowing airline pilots to arm themselves after undergoing
training. The Bill had originally called for a pilot programme
covering 1,400 pilots over the next two years, but when it came
to the floor, House members decided to expand it to any pilot
interested in carrying a gun.
However, the Bill was passed as debate on the efficacy of the
proposal was taking place. Aviation experts have argued that guns
in the cockpit would be a distraction to professionals whose attention
ought to be devoted to flying the airplane. They urged authorities
to explore other methods which are more effective.
Some also raised questions about the effect of stray bullets
on cockpit control panels.
But US pilots themselves have supported the Bill. House staff
members say that there are about 70,000 airline pilots and that
about half of them are military veterans, a background that proponents
say makes arming them a good idea.