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The word engineering is defined as, the art or science of making practical application of the understanding of pure sciences, as physics or chemistry, as in the assembly of engines, bridges, buildings, mines, ships, and chemical plants and also the action, work, or profession of an engineer. Ethics is defined as the rules of conduct known in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group.
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As members of this line of work, engineers are expected to display the highest standards of truthfulness and integrity. Engineering has a vital impact on the quality of life for all people. The services provided require honesty, impartiality, fairness and must be dedicated to the protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. Engineers must perform under a standard of professional behavior that requires devotion to the highest principles of ethical conduct. Engineering ethics is the field of applied ethics which examines and sets standards for engineers’ obligations to the public, employers and the profession.
In today’s specialized technologically based society there is a great dependence on the sound judgment and honesty of the professional engineer. The further development of civilization, the conservation and management of natural resources and the improvement of the standards of living of mankind are greatly affected by the work of the engineer. For that work to be fully effective it is necessary not only has that engineers strived constantly to widen their knowledge and improve their skill but also that the community be willing to recognize the integrity and trust the judgment of members of the profession of engineering. For this to happen the profession must be recognized in the community for:
Its skill in using technical expertise for the enhancement of human welfare.
Its loyalty to the community, to employers and clients.
Its honesty and impartiality in professional practice.
The three major Professional Engineering bodies to which engineers may be affiliated are:
The Board of Engineers (BEM), which is a statutory body governed by the Engineer’s Act 1967 and with which an Engineer must registered before he/she can be employed or practice as an Engineer.
The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM), which is a learned society registered under the Society’s Act. Membership is voluntary but the professional standards set by IEM for membership are accepted by BEM as qualifications for registration as a Professional Engineer (PE). Most PE are IEM members.
The Association of Consulting Engineers, Malaysia (ACEM), is a non-profit organization comprising of Consulting Engineers. Its objective is to promote the interest of Consulting Engineering as a profession.
Engineering Code and Ethics
The engineering code and ethics examines and sets standards for an engineer’s obligation to the public, employers, clients and the profession. The standard code and ethics for an engineer differ for different engineering societies, like the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM), and the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM). The engineering codes and ethics also vary for different discipline or jurisdiction of engineering. They depends whether the engineer is serving a client, employed by the government, or an employee of an enterprise creating products. In most cases, engineers who are serving a client or employed by the government are the ones who follow the codes and ethics. The engineers who work in industries or corporations often rely on principles of business ethics rather than engineering ethics.
The engineering codes and ethics were first developed in the 20th century to face shortcomings in the engineering profession after a series of structural failures in the early 20th century which had an impact on the engineering profession. As time moves on, the code of conduct is revised to face problems like bribery, and environmental protection. This is done to mantain the honour and prestige of the engineering profession and to create responsible and ethical engineers.Here in Malaysia, there are 3 major bodies to which engineers may be affiliated to:
1. Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM)
2. Institute of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM)
3. Association of Consulting Engineers, Malaysia (ACEM)
All these bodies have their own Codes and Ethics, which are intended to suit their specific requirement according to their objectives. These Codes and Ethics have been reviewed and updated through time, in order to keep up with changes in modern times.
Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM)
BEM is a legal body governed by the Engineer’s Act 1967. An engineer must register with BEM before he/she can be employed as an engineer. BEM was formed on the 23rd August 1972. Its main role is to facilitate the registration of engineers and control the professional conduct and practice of registered engineers in order to look after the safety and interest of the public. BEM is the main engineering body here in Malaysia.
The vision of BEM is
The engineering services provided by Malaysian engineers are of world class quality with full regards to the public interest and safety in mind.
The mission of BEM is
To regulate engineering profession so as to ensure that professional engineering services provided in the country are in compliance with appropriate legislation and policies.
Obtained from the official BEM website, the 5 main Code of Professional Conduct are:
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 and 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 client as faithful agent or trustee.
A Registered Engineer shall conduct himself honorably, responsibly, ethically and lawfully so as to enhance the honour, reputation and usefulness of the profession.
Firstly, we analyze the first code of conduct, where it states that ; A Registered Engineer shall at all times hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public. This means that a Registered engineer must prioritize the safety and welfare of the publiic in all of his works, and he will be held responsible for accidents or faults in his work which causes harm to the public. This will force the engineer to be more careful and responsible about his work, indirectly improving the quality of his work.
Next, we analyze the second code of conduct which states; A Registered Engineer shall undertake assignments only if he is qualified by education and experience in the specific technical fields in which he is involved. This code of conduct tells the engineer to only undertake projects which are suited to his qualities and his specialization since the engineering field is very broad. For example, and electronis engineer should take part in a project which involves the construction of a bridge.
In the next code of conduct, it says that; A Registered Engineer shall issue public statements only in an objective and truthful manner. Therefore, an engineer is required to be honest and truthful when issueing public statements. An engineer must not lie or be attempting to deceive the public in his public statements. For example, if an engineer of a company must issue a public statement about a defect or fault in a design or product of his company, he must tell the truth and not put the blame on someone else.
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The fourth code of conduct states that; A Registered Engineer shall act for each employer or client as faithful agent or trustee. This means that when an engineer is working for a clinet of a company, he must be faithful to his client or company. Meaning he cannot be working for other companies in an attempt to sabotage the current company or to leak information or technology to other companies.
In the final code of conduct which says; A Registered Engineer shall conduct himself honorably, responsibly, ethically and lawfully so as to enhance the honour, reputation and usefulness of the profession. This code of conduct requires an engineer to act in a responsible and honourable way, to have good moral values and behave lawfully.
Institute of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM)
IEM is a professional learned society serving more than 16,000 members. The IEM was formed in 1959 and was admitted into the Commonwealth Engineers Council in 1962. It is one of the first engineering body and one of the biggest professional bodies in Malaysia. The IEM is one of the few professional engineering institutions in the world which represents all disciplines of the profession.
The vision of IEM is:
To be the premier professional Organization pivotal achieving Vision 2020.
The missions of IEM are:
Promoting sound professional engineering practice in support of the socio-economic development objectives of the nation.
Servicing the needs and interests of its members and the public and uphold the social standing image of the engineering profession.
Contributing towards nation building and strive to enhance society’s consciousness of science and technology.
IEM’s code of conduct are less specific and a bit more general since its members consists of engineers of various disciplines and many types of employement and businesses. The IEM’s code of conduct comprises of many areas which include moral behaviour, public health and safety, conservation of resources, conservation of the environment, the engineers responsibilty, and the affairs of an engineer with it’s employees, employers, clients, and peers. For disciplinary action, the IEM refer to the BEM for appropriate action.
The Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia
The Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia, as its name implies, was formed with the object of promoting the advancement of the profession of consulting engineering by associating together for consultation and cooperation those engineers whose work is of a purely consultative character, and of providing facilities for Governments, Public Bodies, Associations representing industry and trade, and others to confer with Consulting Engineers as a body and to ascertain their collective views.
-One of the primary objects of the Association is to ensure that Consulting Engineers undertaking to advise on engineering matters shall be fully qualified engineers in their respective fields and should act in all professional matters in a strictly fiduciary capacity to their clients.A Consulting Engineer is defined in the Articles of Association as a person possessing the essential qualifications to practise in one or more of the various branches of Engineering who devotes himself to advising the public on engineering matters or to designing and supervising the creation of engineering works and for such purposes occupies and employs either solely or in conjunction with another Consulting Engineer, his own office and staff or, in the case of a partner or consultant of a firm of Consulting Engineers uses the office and staff of the said firm, and is not directly or indirectly concerned or interested in marketable or manufacturing interests such as would tend to influence his exercise of independent professional judgment in the matters upon which he advises.
Problem Caused by Engineers
In today’s specialised technologically based world there is a great dependence on the sound judgment and integrity of the professional engineer. The further development of civilisation, the maintenance and management of natural resources and the improvement of the standards of living of mankind are greatly affected by the work of the engineer. For that work to be fully efficient it is necessary not only that engineers strive constantly to widen their knowledge and improve their skill but also that the community be willing to recognise the integrity and trust the judgment of members of the profession of engineering.Firstly, to accept responsibility in making decisions dependable with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment. We are aware that most engineers do not follow this ethics nowadays. Not many cases of failures by engineers before this. Alot of building (civil engineering) collapses. Work is done by engineer more to money basis minded. Health and welfare of the public is ignored. Engineers shall continue their professional expansion throughout their careers and shall provide opportunities for the professional development of those engineers under their supervision. Next, is to reject bribery. Before this no bribery cases are shown done by the engineers. But nowadays for a job to b done without any delay and within a short period of time, bribery happens. For example, recently the Hyundai Engineering and Construction in bribery scandal. Investigation begun into illegal payments allegedly made to army generals by Korea’s largest builder. South Korean police have begun investigating six current and retired army generals on doubt of taking bribes from Hyundai Construction in connection with a construction contract awarded by the Ministry of National Defence.The construction order concerned work at Incheon International Airport. The senior military officers are alleged to have received 140 million won (US$117,000) in bribes from the company.To uphold and improve our technical competence and to undertake technological tasks for others only if qualified by training or experience, or after full disclosure of pertinent limitations also plays an important role for all engineers. World class training is given to all engineers upon completing their studies today. Nothing much to worry about the experience because all fresh engineers are sent to a very good training to brush up their skills and to gain more experience. Whereby previously there was not enough training for fresh engineers because the equipments and teaching method which was not up to the standard of now. Training alone is not enough nowadays. Qualified interview should be carried on also. The main purpose of this interview is to be a registered graduate engineer with BEM and have finished 2 years of service with the government sector. The experience gained should take in planning-design, investigation-field, work-construction, supervision & management and general related activities. During those days, we don’t have any bodies which helps the advancement of the profession of engineers.
Result and Discussion
The number of people that participated in this survey was 33people. 20 of them were male and 13 were female. All ranging from different age groups ranging from 18-32 years old.
The participants of the survey mostly agree on the fact that engineers are assets in developing a country. A number of 30 participants agree on the statement. Where else another 3 participants did not agree with the statement because they feel that engineers don’t really play a vital role in country development.
When asked about the their opinion on the effect of engineering code and ethics on improving the quality of engineers in the world, every participant agreed fully and thinks that engineering code and ethics does improve the quality of the engineers in the world today.
Participants were rather unsure about the changes that took place in the engineering ethics and codes when asked if they noticed the difference between the present and past code and ethics of engineering. A total of 30 participants did not have a clue on the changes that took place. Only 3 participants did actually realize that there were changes in the code and ethics of engineering as time goes by.
Participants of the survey was further asked if they personally feel that the current engineering ethics and code system is relevant to the skills required in the working world. The feedback gained from the participants was to know that they do think that it is vital and relevant and only 6 participants’ feels that it is not as relevant to working world.
Next participants were questioned on their opinion if there are any negative outcome due to the engineering code and ethics that were modified due to the modern era. This came up after concluding the answers from all participants and made up everyone agreeing that there are not negative outcome due to the modification and changed that are made to the engineering code and ethics as time passed.
As we can see in the graph, most FOE students are not aware how many engineering bodies exits here in Malaysia. We see that most students answered “Dont know” meaning they are totally clue less on how many enginering bodies there are. Only 4 students got the correct number of bodies, however only 3 out of the 4 students are able to list down all of the engineering bodies in Malaysia. This shows that FOE students are unaware of the bodies of engineering in Malaysia..
From the results of this question, we see that altough a number of students know that they must register to qualify to be hired as an engineer, a majority of students are still unaware. As much as 19 students dont know that they are required to register, compared to the 12 student who do know. This again shows a lack of awareness among the FOE students.
The results of this survey question shows that most students agree that the engineering bodies in malaysia need to revise or add clauses into the current codes of conduct to deal with modern day problems like, global warming, and environmental pollution. This is to make sure that engineers considers these factors when designing or constructing their project.
The results of this survey question gives us a very one-sided result, where 87% of students agree that the current codes of conduct should be enfoced stronger to curb problems like corruption, bribery and croniism among professional engineers. This is most probably because nowdays, there are more and more cases of structures failing due to engineering faults, like the stadium and bus station in Terrenganu. These cases are most probably caused by corrupt engineers who did not design and construct part of these buildings properly, resulting in a massive loss.
Based on the survey, we got to know that lack of training of the engineering background is the main reason bribery cases happens in this field. Followed by salary for engineers is not up to expectation and lastly the influence of outside party. lack of training of the engineering background is the main reason bribery cases happens in this field. The reason is fresh graduates are not given proper training before a job task is given to them. And when they are not exposed to this training they tend to pay people or bribe someone in order to get their job done. influence of outside party does is not the main reason bribery cases happens.the reason is the outside party does not know what is actually happening in the engineering field.Example, recently the Hyundai Engineering and Construction in bribery scandal. Investigation begun into illicit payments allegedly made to army generals by Korea’s largest builder. South Korean police have begun investigating six current and retired army generals on mistrust of taking bribes from Hyundai Construction in connection with a construction contract awarded by the Ministry of Defence.
Engineers work to develop economic and safe solutions to practical problems, by applying mathematics, scientific knowledge and ingenuity while considering technical constraint . The industrial revolution and continuing technological developments of the last few centuries have changed the connotation of the term slightly, giving in the perception of engineers as applied scientists. The work of engineers is the link between received needs of society and commercial applications. Professional Engineer is the term for registered or licensed engineers in certain countries who are permitted to offer their professional services directly to the public.The term Professional Engineer and the real practice of professional engineering is legally defined and protected by a government body. In some jurisdictions only registered or licensed Professional Engineers are permitted to use the title, or to practice Professional Engineering
From the survey above, we got to know that Failures by engineers is mainly caused because Work is done by engineer more to money basis minded followed by lack of background knowledge of the engineering field which that engineer is involved and lastly no proper guidance and training given. Nowadays not only in this field, people tend to do things more to money basis. As long as they get money, they are happy and they don’t care about their work that they suppose to be done.Next they don’t realy master in wateva thery are learing and learn for the sake of learning.so lack of background knowledge of the engineering field which that engineer is involved is the second reason why engineers fails.
Most of the students who conducted this survey agree with the statement above. The reason is because Engineers apply the ethics of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems. Their work is the link between methodical discoveries and the commercial applications that meet societal and consumer needs
Many engineering interview consist of the candidate speaking with numerous people within the company. These can consist of managers, peer engineers, project directors, and human resource personnel. Each of these people will have a detailed agenda for the interview, and will ask the candidate different types of questions, and the responses should be tailored to the specific person, their background, and their agenda.A professional interview should be carried on. The main reason is so that the fresh engineers really know what are they going to do when they are on their respective field later on. If they themselves are not familiar to what are they majoring in, it is going to hard for them to handle their job and they will tend to find an easy way out by diverting it to bad habbits such as bribery and so on. Engineering ethics is the body of applied ethics which examines and sets standards for engineers’ obligations to the public, their clients, employers and the profession. This article addresses the subject for both professional engineers and others.Engineering does not have a solo uniform system, of ethical conduct across the entire profession.
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