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The IEM Regulations of Professional Conduct speaks against active self promotion

and advertisement. In what ways should such restraint enhance the stature of
engineers as professionals? More importantly, given the advent (arrival) of
information technology age where virtual reality is becoming norm, how would any
violation of the IEM Regulations of Professional Conduct be detected and dealt with?

(The following write-up was prepared (written) by Mr. BAY prior to his sitting for PI on Feb 2014. It is shared here for reference of other


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

How the prohibition of active self-promotion and advertisement to enhance


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

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.

How to detect such 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


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.