• 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?
i. 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.
ii. 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.
iii. 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.