Sabah launches country's first drone club

KRISTY INUS

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Drone Club – the first such club in the country catering to drone enthusiasts - was officially launched here today.

Boasting about 100 members state-wide, the club aims to encourage the sharing of ideas and the latest information about drones amongst its members.

Sabah Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Tawfiq Abu Bakar Titingan, when launching the club, expressed his hope that its formation will pave the way for drone competitions to be popularised and turned into a sporting event.

“Drones may be expensive now, but I believe, like smartphones, their technology will become more sophisticated, but their prices will drop, as they turn into a necessity in our daily lives.

“So, maybe Sabah could take the lead and be prepared when it does turn into a national-level sporting event in future. Who knows?” he said at the Communications and Multimedia Ministry Sabah integrated building foyer.

Tawfiq, however, cautioned that although drone technology can assist in various scopes of work, such as during the Ranau earthquake in 2015, it can also be misused by irresponsible people.

“That is why I would suggest that the club engage relevant authorities, where they only issue licenses to those who register with the club first.

“In this way, it will be easier to regulate, because we fear, if there is no coordination, drones might be used with criminal intent … It has happened where smuggling activities were assisted by drones,” he said.

Meanwhile, club secretary, Umar Faruq Alidad, said the club also exposes its members and the public to the ethics and laws of using drones.

“We hope the club will contribute (towards helping) economic and educational development, in the context of technology application,” said Umar.