29 Jan 2005

Three SIA pilots face probe

When Harry Lee gets his teeth into an issue its a little like wrestling with a pitbull. The pilots have not been charged, they are suspected of doing something. It is actions such as the branding as 'undersirable' that appear every now and then just to remind Singaporeans, to keep their mouth shut and that we should all be afraid, be very afraid.


Undesireable



Sacked SIA Captain Ryan Goh, who had his PR status revoked, renews flying licence
Three SIA pilots face probe
By Karen Wong
karen@sph.com.sg



DID they help an ex-colleague, branded an 'undesirable immigrant', to renew his pilot's licence here?

The saga of Captain Ryan Goh will take another twist when three Singapore Airlines pilots go before a high-powered SIA inquiry panel.

They are suspected of helping Capt Goh, 43, to use SIA's flight simulator to pass two flying tests - one of the requirements by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) to renew a pilot's flying licence.

If the sacked pilot's access to SIA's simulator for the tests was a breach of company rules, the three SIA pilots who helped him face disciplinary action.

This could range from a warning to suspension to 'summary termination', which means an immediate sack.

If they are instructor pilots, they could lose their instructor status.

No specific charges have been levelled at the three pilots, sources told The New Paper. But it probably relates to the use of SIA's flight simulator by Capt Goh, a Malaysian who had his Singapore Permanent Resident status revoked over his role in a pilots union dispute.

The president of the Air-Line Pilots Association-Singapore (Alpa-S), Captain Mok Hin Choon, declined to comment when contacted by The New Paper.

He would only say: 'I've been asked to give statements for the investigation.'

When contacted by The New Paper, an SIA spokesman said: 'This is an internal matter which is being examined by the company and we have nothing more to add.'

It is understood that three senior management members will sit on the inquiry panel in line with company procedure.

TWO OCCASIONS

Sources said Capt Goh was allowed to use the simulator as it was believed he only wanted to put in some practice time.

It is understood the use of the SIA simulator is not exclusive to SIA pilots and time slots are leased out to pilots of other airlines.

Capt Goh went through a 'recurrency practice' and a 'base check' on two occasions, Oct 21 and Oct 27, while he was on a visit here. This helped him to get his licence re-certified by CAAS after he was told to leave Singapore.

Pilots usually use the flight simulation centre to train and sit for two tests, which they have to pass in order to renew their Singapore flying licences.

Asked about its requirements for pilot licence-renewal, a CAAS spokesman replied: 'An Airline Transport Pilot Licence is required to be renewed once every six months.

'The renewal process is made up of two parts. The pilot needs to pass a medical test, and he also needs to pass a skills test and an instrument rating test.

She added: 'Captain Ryan Goh's Airline Transport Pilot Licence has been renewed because he fulfilled the requirements.'

Since he left SIA, Capt Goh has been having trouble finding work despite applying to several international airlines, sources said.

He had not been flying for a while, and his licence was expiring.

The New Paper understands that one cannot fly for a foreign-based airline with a Singapore-issued pilot's licence, unless one sits for new tests in the country which the airline is based and get a pilot's licence issued from there.

A Singapore-issued licence will allow Capt Goh to fly on any Singapore-registered airline, like Valuair, Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia.

But, it remains to be seen if he can find work here. As a foreigner, he will need to apply for an employment pass if he is to be based here.

UNION ROLE

Capt Goh was found to be an 'undesirable immigrant' following his involvement in a pilots union dispute.

Capt Goh, who was living here from 1981, was singled out by then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew for instigating the ouster of Alpa-S leaders in November 2003, amid unhappiness over wage negotiations.

He was accused of threatening industrial peace in SIA - which could also affect the overall interests of Singapore.

Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng then declared that he was an 'undesirable immigrant', and his permanent resident status was revoked.

It is understood that, as an 'undesirable immigrant', he would have to leave Singapore for good and must be given special permission to visit.

He would also not be allowed to look for a job here.

On May 1 last year, Capt Goh left Singapore for Perth, Australia, where his wife and two sons live.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's this 'we' stuff ? You've become a Singaporean ?

soci said...

I am not Singaporean, but then again niether is Captain Ryan Goh.

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