Sunday, March 7

Govt urged to intervene in closing of aviation school


THE government has been urged to intervene in the closing down of Gulf Golden International Flying Academy (GGIFA) International College of Aviation in Bintulu, which left 94 aspiring aviation students in a lurch.

Chiew Chiu Sing (DAP-Kidurong) brought this matter up during his debate on the Head of State’s address at the State Legislative Assembly yesterday.

“The students learning to fly single and twin engine airplanes were dumped and could not finish their courses when the college suddenly closed down its flying school in the last quarter of 2010.

“The students never got their flying certificates as promised by the aviation college. All the money which the students had paid for school fees were forfeited and not returned to them. The schools fees for the course were around RM200,000 per student,” he revealed.

Chiew said for many parents the amount was hard earned money, savings or loans which they had planned to pay back after their children had graduated and become pilots.

“That was all the money they had. The parents now have no more money left for their children to go to another flying academy elsewhere, or what, to finish the course. The future of the students is at stack.

“It is most irresponsible of GGIFA, the International College of Aviation or any college for that matter to dump students half way through the course just like that, while not even making any attempt of some sort to make arrangements so that the students could finish their courses and obtain their flying certificates,” he stressed.

According to Chiew, the college even challenged the students to take up the matter in court if they did not like what happened to them.

“This is not just a question of law, it is also about morality, business morality and responsibility to others. How is the world going to look at us and at our institutions of higher learning as they may close down anytime like GGIFA? The government should intervene in this matter so that the dreams of these students to become pilots would come true,” he said.

Chiew further pointed out that higher education should not just be a luxury for a few, but the clearest path to better jobs and a stronger middle class.

“Businesses and employment are core to building the middle class. We know that employers hire workers when they think it is profitable to do so and that wages are determined by a mix of factors, including labour supply and demand, technology, education and skill and institutional features that affect bargaining power and morale.

“Our state is faced with many challenges, our work force though strong is still young and many have not acquired the education, skill or work culture,” he pointed out.

“For those who had the experience many have gone elsewhere to find jobs and are not in our state. We all know that education is the key to shed one off poverty and the more students who do not walk away from their education, more of them walk up the stage to get their diplomas or degrees, and educational attainment is a major contributor to the building of the middle class,” he said.