Engineering has been regarded as one of the greatest professions on earth that has contributed in various positive impacts to the society and country. However, misuse of professional knowledge or adoption of bad would incur various negative social illnesses to society and country. One of the most profound social illnesses that has been closely linked to the engineering profession is the wide spread of corruption or unwise practices amongst certain group of engineers such as slef promotion and advertisement. IEM Regulations on Professional Conduct speaks against active self promotion and advertisement. Self-promoting is unethical as typically large amount of money will be used for promotion of in worse case the lobbying process. Those costs could be effectively used to improve the existing system and could be spent for multi researches.
IEM regulations of professional conduct are written rules and principles for members to conduct themselves in ethical and morale manner when discharging their duties and carrying their works. The regulations and rules are written in broad and general terms and cover all eventualities.The regulations, basically, require members to uphold the dignity of the profession, be honest and fair to all parties, ensure works constitute no danger to public, do not jeopardize the benefits of his fellow engineers, etc. One of rules is member shall not use self-laudatory language or in any manner derogatory to the dignity of the profession, to advertise or write articles for publication, nor shall he authorize any such advertisement or article to be written or published by any other person. All these IEM regulations of professional conduct, including prohibit of active self-promotion and advertisement, are to enhance the stature of engineers as professionals and further promote the profession as an attractive and rewarding ones.
The IEM Regulations on Professional Conduct and BEM Code of Ethics speaks against active self-promotion and advertisement.
Ways would such restraint enhance the stature of engineers as professionals.
Violation of the IEM Regulations on Professional Conduct be detected and dealt with.
A Code of Professional Conduct designed to cover all eventualities must necessarily be written in general terms expressing broad ethical principles. Almost every case of doubt as to the proper course of action required to conform to the Code of Professional Conduct arises from a conflict between a member’s personal interest and his duty to others.
Regulations issued by the Council to interpret the Code indicate the manner in which members are required to conduct themselves in a number of situations that are frequently encountered. In other situations, members are required to order their conduct in accordance with the principle that, in any conflict between a member’s personal interest and fair and honest dealing with other members of the community, his duty to the community must prevail.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Prohibition of active self-promotion and advertisement to enhance professionalism.
Active self-promotion and advertisement like sales and marketing industry may result the use of self-laudatory language. In my opinions, engineering works are application of science knowledge to improve living standard of human. Engineers are those involved with the roles. These kinds of roles are informative and implementation patterns and not adjective and praising ways. It is important so that we can perform our duties with real understanding and attending to engineering problems sincerely. We do not say or make public perceive that we could perform something extraordinary or can do much better or no one else could able to do similar. This rule is essential to avoid wrong perception from the public and to show our sincerity to contribute to the community while taking care of our business prospects.
However, consultancy services are businesses too. When a prohibition was imposed, resources such as personnel, time and money earlier allocated for the advertisement could have be channelled and used for better ways. For instance, these resources can be allocated for training, purchase of latest analytical and design software, new equipment such plotters and PCs for the office. All these training can enhance the competency and efficiency of all engineers. In other words, such restraint of active promotion can promote efforts to maintain and develop professional competency by attention to new development in science and engineering relevant to his field. Fruitful competition are based on competence, creativity, innovation, valued engineering design, front end engineering design (FEED), etc rather than merely active advertisement.
In addition, the restraint can avoid unhealthy competition among engineers such as deduction of fees. This approach to secure works is definitely detrimental to the profession and other engineers. The impacts are the profession could no longer be an attractive and rewarding one. In future, there will less and less talents willing to join the profession making the industry not sustainable and stagnant from advancement.
Such restraint may promote close collaboration among engineers of different discipline and expertise too. It is because the projects nowadays are growing in complexity. As an engineer, he does not speak and make public statement without ensuring his qualification and undertake jobs that are out of his area of expertise and competence. By pooling all discipline of engineers, they work and collaborate with one another. Eventually, they can contribute to nation in efficient ways.
Violation of active self-promotion and advertisement.
Again, as per earlier sub-chapter, active self-promotion and advertisement like sales and marketing industry may result the use of self-laudatory language. It could sometimes become worst if there is any manner derogatory to dignity profession.
Therefore, the violation can be detected by identifying the presence of these two elements of advertisement and articles published on both traditional media and online. If one uses self-laudatory language, the statement is unlikely providing informative details tally with his qualification, capacity and competence. Both Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) have the directory and registration details and public could access via online to check the registration of individual engineer.
How to deal with the violation of active self-promotion and advertisement?
Peer system within Institution of Engineers Malaysia
Communication is important among engineers. Via communication, people with similar abilities, qualifications, background and job nature can become peers of among themselves to move to ethical direction. In addition, they could learn, share ideas, monitor and motivate each other. By becoming members of Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), we become peers among each other. By becoming IEM members, we promise to abide by IEM rules and regulations. If any of the members breach the rules, he shall feel shame and will not earn the respect of others.
To enhance competence
Competence is important for advancement of oneself and for the industry as a whole. If one becomes competent, he does not need self-laudatory languages and unethical approach to earn his prospects. As such, the continuing professional development programs organised by accredited organisation such as BEM and IEM are much anticipated.
Whistle blowers/ Regulators/ Enforcement such as Board of Engineers, Malaysia
There is sometimes some “bad apples”. Therefore, there must be regulators and enforcement system in place.In Malaysia, Board of Engineers (BEM) is the regulatory body to register and deregister engineers. There are also mechanism and reasons, stipulated inside Registration of Engineers Act 1967 (Act 138) (REA), how an unethical offences that can lead to suspension or cancellation of registration of an engineer. One of the by-laws also stipulates that a registered engineer shall not advertise in any manner or form in connection with his profession (Item 27c) except as permitted by BEM. However, BEM does not able to play her roles and responsibilities unless there are whistle blowers and assistance of IEM. Most registered engineers are also members of IEM. IEM has similar mechanism to suspend membership of default members. Hence, the close collaboration from both BEM and IEM since earliest days is dealing with the matters. By adhering to IEM rules and regulations, we could abide by most of the regulations by BEM and REA, which include the prohibition of active self-promotion and advertisement.
Prohibition of active self-promotion and advertisement are not means to restrict growing of business of individual engineer. It is indeed encouraging competency with allocation of resources into enhancing competence and skills. The restraint could avoid unhealthy approaches which shown desperation to secure jobs but jeopardizing the profession as a rewarding career as a whole and in the long run.
BEM GUIDELINES FOR CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
A Registered Engineer shall at all times hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public.
A Registered Engineer shall undertake assignments only if he is qualified by education & experience in the specific technical fields in which he is involved.
A Registered Engineer shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner.
A Registered Engineer shall act for each employer or clients as faithful agent or trustee.
A Registered Engineer shall conduct himself honourably, responsibly, ethically and lawfully so as to enhance the honour, reputation and usefulness of the profession.
THE INSTITUTION OF ENGINEERS, MALAYSIA REGULATIONS ON PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
A member shall at all times take care to ensure that his work and the products of his work constitute no avoidable danger of death or injury or ill health to any person.
A member shall take all reasonable steps to avoid waste of natural resources, damage of the environment, and wasteful damage or destruction of the products of human skill and industry.
A member shall take all reasonable steps to maintain and develop his professional competence by attention to new developments in science and engineering relevant to his field of professional activity and, if he is an employer, shall encourage his professional employees to do likeness.
A member shall not undertake responsibility as professional engineer which he does not believe himself competent to discharge.
A member shall accept personal responsibility for all work done by him or under his supervision or direction, and shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that persons working under his authority are competent to carry out the tasks assigned to them and that they accept personal responsibility for work done under the authority delegated to them.
A member called upon to give an opinion in his professional capacity shall, to the best of his ability, give an opinion that is objective and reliable.
A member whose professional advice is not accepted shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that the person overruling or neglecting his advice is aware of any danger which the member believes may result from overruling or neglect.
A member shall not make any public statement in his capacity as a professional engineer without ensuring that his qualification to make such a statement and any association he may have with any party which may benefit from his statement are made known to the person or persons to whom it is directed.
A member shall not, in self-laudatory language or in any manner derogatory to the dignity of the profession advertise or write articles for publication, nor shall he authorise any such advertisement or article to be written or published by any other person.
A member shall not recklessly or maliciously injure or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation, prospects or business of another engineer.
A member shall inform his employer in writing of any conflict between his personal interest and faithful service to his employer.
A member shall not improperly disclose any information concerning the business of his employer or of any past employer.
A member shall not accept remuneration in connection with professional services rendered to his employer other than from his employer or with his employer’s consent; nor shall he receive directly or indirectly any royalty, gratuity or commission on any article or process used in or for the purposes of the work in respect of which he is employed unless or until such royalty, gratuity or commission has been authorised in writing by his employer.
A member shall not improperly solicit work as an independent advise or consultant, either directly or by an agent, nor shall he pay any person, by commission or otherwise, for the introduction of such work.
A member acting as an independent adviser or consultant shall not be the medium of payment made on his employer’s behalf unless so requested by his employer; nor shall he place contracts or orders in connection with work on which he is employed, except with the authority of and on behalf of his employer.