Legal Issue: Can we use quadrotor for filming in Malaysia?


The answer is yes, you can use quadrotor for filming in Malaysia. At the time this write up is made, there are no specific regulation that deter you from using quadrotor for filming. However if you are in the US, there are some regulation applies.

The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration, America) outlined the below quote from this article:

Hobbyists are allowed to use small, radio-controlled crafts under specific guidelines, but “if you’re using it for any sort of commercial purposes, including journalism, that’s not allowed,”

But the FAA is only responsible to the US aviation. Their regulations can only be enforced in the US. The rules regarding the legality on such application should be based on the country where the quadrotor filming is practiced e.g. South Africa, Malaysia, Thailand and so on.

The user Peter Sachs commented:

FAA spokesperson Les Dorr is 100% wrong. ​Radio-controlled model aircraft are completely unregulated (at this writing). The FAA can send all the “cease and desist” letters it wants, but it has no legal authority whatsoever to force anyone to cease or desist. In fact, (at this writing), operators of those types of craft have an unfettered right to use them for pleasure or profit.​

There exists not a single FAA regulation concerning the use of radio-controlled model aircraft, (“drones”). I challenge ​Mr. Dorr (​or anyone else from the FAA​)​ to cite a single regulation that does.

​- ​Advisory Circular 91-57 is merely a list of ​common sense ​”suggestions,” and ​is not legally enforceable.

​- ​The FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 is merely a set of “​directives​”​ to the FAA to develop regulations concerning unmanned aircraft. By definition, that means none currently exist. Moreover, ​language found within ​”directives​” ​​to ​an agency​ ​are not ​themselves regulations, and are not legally enforceable.

​- ​The FAA 2007 “​Clarification” ​merely ​clarifies the FAA’s current ​”​policy​”​ concerning operations of unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System. ​Agency “policies​”​ are not
​regulations, and are not legally enforceable.

Attorney Brendan Schulman, (who has also commented here), has argued quite correctly and eloquently on behalf of his client in the first test case regarding commercial drone use— Administrator v. Raphael Pirker, NTSB Docket CP-217.​ ​It will be interesting to see the outcome of that case given the points I’ve included above and the far more expansive arguments Attorney Schulman set forth in his motions and memoranda of law.

At the moment this writing were made, there were no regulation exists yet (please drop an update in the comment area if you are able to find any for other’s information as well). However safety, ethical and common sense applies.

  1. Don’t fly your drone in public area, but if public area were to be used, make sure you are can be easily seen so the public will be aware, or set the time when people are not in the zone
  2. Observe the local property and people when flying.
  3. Safety first. If your drone should crash, let it be. Make the public safety paramount.

Fly safely, fly responsibly and enjoy.

————————-Updates below———————–

Update: One of the commenter outlined below regarding the legal aspects of flying in Malaysia. He said (name redacted for privacy) –

DCA and JUPEM ( west Malaysia only ) have policy to control the flight of UAV or Drone in Malaysia. No matter is hobby or commercial, we need approval from them. I copy paste this term from the DCA policy : “2.2 UAVs shall not be flown without obtaining prior relevant DCA approval” This mean what we are flying now consider illegal flight. I have a meeting with DCA officially, what I can said is they just close 1 of their eye. However this doesn’t mean you wont receive saman from them. In Sarawak, DCA did give saman to flyer few months ago.

Strengthening the Prime Time News in Malaysia – Celebrating the News, Our Ideals and Heroes.


Prime time news can be seen as a catalyst to the society. It shapes, transforms and direct the public’s concern toward what matters most at the time the news were covered. Through the use of prime time news, political opinions can be united, more entrepreneurs can be generated and emotions can be triggered. I’m looking at prime time news objectively since it’s merely an effective tool to shape a society.

I don’t have the statistics on how many people who watch prime time news, or the gender, or the age group, but I can assure that my family watch prime time news, which consists of working people, old people, students and housewives. Therefore, I have the reason to care about how such tools are utilized to shape my families and the society’s families from home.

At the time this piece is written, I’m commenting based on the TV1 news and TV3 (Buletin Utama) news. At this moment, these are the key points that mostly covered. Keep in mind that I’m not a professional commenter, but here I shall put in some thoughts on what I can observe in the news nowadays.

Slow down on emphasizing the world news.

  • Sometimes the news coverage was more weighted towards what is happening in the West (read: US). This is contrary to the practise of West’s style of reporting. For example in the prime time news in the US, they would not cover things that happen outside of the US that much (e.g. Kebakaran di Pasar Rantau Panjang, why would they care? Kebakaran di Virginia, US, why would we care?). They will only cover the oversea news if such news has a direct impact towards the US citizens, e.g. US manufacturing companies moving to China, India’s race to the space to beat US’s achievement, vaccinations issues etc.
  • In Malaysia’s broadcasting case, if US’s John Kerry is visiting somewhere to do US government things, why should we care? If John Kerry is visiting Malaysia to discuss something important, then yes, that news would be beneficial to Malaysian citizens.

Political news is OK, but too much.

  • What kind of society that we want to be? Do we want to be a tech savvy society like Japan? If yes, more tech news, innovations done in Malaysia should be covered.
  • Do we want to be a traditional society? Then pops and moms business, agriculture news and the related should be covered more.
  • Or do we want to be a fearful society? Then more gangster and riot news should be covered.
  • Or do we want a healthy society? Then more news should be covered on types of food, public sports event like running, triathlon and so on.
  • The point is if a society wants to be transformed, sometimes ignorance is bliss. We need to be focus. What we are worrying is when the society was not aware of the riots and gangsters, but that is the police’s job.

The local news is great.

  • The local news that covers the hardship of the society is well presented. It triggers emotion, respect and the drive to help each other as the member of the society.
  • Once a week, the prime time news covers the pressing thing that probably not being taken care much by the local authority, for example the slot Aduan Rakyat by TV3. That slot is brilliant. Well, if you have a concern and the local authority would not take care of it, then everybody else must know and take proper actions.
  • When I was a kid, long time ago, sometimes the prime time news covers the artist’s gossips, but now not anymore. As I grow older, the local prime time news gains more respect, because they are focusing on things that matters most. The artists? Let the gossip’s show covers them.

The local news should educate more, not seeking for off-taste comments.

  • The prime time news journalist goes to the university to meet the Professors or Professor Madya’s to seek for comments. This should be practiced more. Include more comments from the engineers, social commenters are more of them. Reduce seeking for comments from the minister. Sometimes I found their comments are quite off to be seen by the society.

Lastly, give the credit where it’s due.

  • The oversea’s news highlight the journalist very well. We should treat the journalist like stars. These reports jump through hoops, endanger their lives and get to the forefront to get the news, why shy to promote them. Don’t just mention their name briefly, show their face and a format should be revised so the news can also highlight the brave reporters with their face and voice. We want to know our heroes! Put more of Saiful Nizam Ismail, Mior Abdul Malek Rayani , Nurulhuda Abd Aziz, Kamaruddin Mape and the likes in the end of the short report. Those are our heroes! Well, a new format should be revised I think, but yeah, celebrate them more than the artists.

When will you get old, and why you should have more kids.


One day, my wife asked me, “why do people have lots of kids?”.

We have a son, at the time this piece is written, he’s 11 months old. And my wife and I are contemplating with the idea on getting another child.

An then, the quote below pops in my browser. It really resonates with me, and I think I found the answer for my wife’s question, especially when I close to retire in the future, could my son handle that situation alone?

Could it be easier for him if he has more siblings?

It seems to be having more siblings (maybe one or two) will help him a lot, so that it will be easier to take turns looking for us when my wife and I got old.

See the quote below, written by a husband/only son/teacher.

At some point you get old, and what makes you old will be unique to you. You don’t know when it’s going to happen or what you’ll look like when it does finally happen, but it will happen. I’m 27 and [redacted], I am old. I have a full time job, a wife, a kid, a car payment, etc.

But that doesn’t make me old.

What makes me old is the understanding that my family relies on me for just about everything. My wife would never admit it, but my mood alters hers a lot. I can tell that when I moan and groan for a few minutes about work, it kills her – she doesn’t like it if I had a rough day. She’s a reasonable person and wants my day to go well! So, I suck it up and tell her the truth; either that my day was great, or that it had a few rough patches but I got through it and will be better for having had the experience.

My father is getting old and will, sometime in the next 5 years, be retired. I know that if something goes wrong, I will be financially responsible for him.

I have no siblings.

My daughter relies on me for love, compassion, knowledge, and understanding. She relies on me as a father figure, or just someone to have a tea party with. She’ll need me as a stable figure in her life in order for her to be a success over the long haul.

My students rely on my every day to be a facilitator of science education in the classroom. For many, I am the only person they can count on to show up every day and I’m the only adult in their lives they can talk to without getting shouted at.
I love every second of it all.

Source: [link]

Sloppy Kathmandu Tripod Design


I bought a Kathmandu Tripod in 2010, I don’t quite remember its price, but then the brand claimed to be the thing to bring for an outdoor adventure.

The camera yaw-axis broken when I was using it in Melbourne, 6 months later! Upon a close inspection, I should note that if a designer intends to design a product to hold an expensive equipment (e.g. a DSLR camera), the design should be sturdier at the respective parts. Shown below is the yaw-axis clamp that was broken due to bad design (reduction of material).


3D printing stuff: I built a working drone in 24 hours

2013-12-16 12.17.11

Last week I manage to get some time off from markings, teaching classes and meetings. As a designer, I found that the more stressed I am, the more drive I got to build things.

So armed with a caliper and an old ProEngineer CAD software, I manage to design from scratch a simple quadcopter frame. It is basically consist of a centerbase (I printed it twice), and an arm (I printed it 4 times).

2013-12-16 12.17.11
Pic above: the built drone, fresh from the 3D printer

The motivation comes from my DJI F330 frame that broke due to a crash last few months ago as shown below. So I was thinking, well this is a good reason to custom-design my own simple frame. If it crash and broken, I’ll just print it again. So it makes the downtime shorter.

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Pic above: My broken quad

So once my frame were printed, which took about 6 hours to complete (ABS material, 50% infill, on a FlashForge Replicator printer), I installed the control board (APM 2.5), the 20 amp electronic speed control (ESC), a 2200mah battery, four Gemfan 8×4.5 SF prop and four brushlesh motor (Prodrive 1200kV) on the frame.

It took me another half an hour to upload the PIDs, checking the balance, trimming the cable-ties and whatnot before I test-fly it in my office.

And it fly great! No wobblings, very light and fairly strong!

Some flyers concern about the motors being hot due to enclosure, but this is a tough decision that I have to make. In my defense,
1. I’ve tested the hover to the maximum battery-time capacity of 7 minutes and the motors only heated up to 63 celcius and the 7-minute ride is more than enough to cover UMT’s shoreline at the altitude of 600 metres.
2. The battery and esc’s are cool and happy!

Now the to-do’s!
1. Design and build a simple camera-gimbal to stabilize my GoPro camera.
2. Design and build a water- and sand-resistant enclosure for the motor and electronics.

Next up, if I’m not in the office, I’m probably at the UMT coastal line to run aerial coastal monitoring. See you there!

Friday Takeaway #1


Elon Musk’s Secret Weapon: A Beginner’s Guide to First Principles

… rather than taking what already exists as the basis of our thinking, we break the problem down to its most fundamental truths and examine each piece. Even though a problem has already been solved, we start from the problem’s most basic elements to reexamine whether a better solution might be possible.

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