Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Role of Engineers in Nation Building : The Perspective of Professionalism
and Work Ethics .
Amir Shafiq Adham

Engineer. Some said that “You are nothing in front of the engineers”. That must be a good reasons behind that statement alas the people or the engineers themselves will not establishing that kind of sentence. Whilst, a lot of different jobs been created now in this post modern era, I mean looked around you, sometimes the job isn’t the real job but yes people are willing to pay up even the job is nonsense. Recently I read an article that in Japan, they opened a shop where they give cuddling service to the people before getting sleep. However, one cannot deny that engineers remained the major role in building the nation towards a better goal. The definition for an engineer is, an engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical, social and economic problems. From this definition, we can see that being an engineer is not about being expert in term of technical roles, but it include for developing the solution for the social and economic problems. Whenever the doctors are expecting to cure the people, we as engineers are expecting to cure the world. Without us, perhaps civilization cannot be developed. Yet , we must realize that the definition of the good engineers does not come along with the expertise in his line itself but it come together with the sense of professionalism and work ethics though.

In Malaysia, we have two bodies that only recognized engineers as well as guiding the engineers with the professionalism and work ethics codes, that is Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) and Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM). For the record, Institution of Engineers Malaysia also known as IEM has been in Malaysia for 53 years old since its birth on May 1959. Although it is not too old but we could see that IEM has played its major role in establishing and recognizing engineers in our country. Now, with the tradition of 50 years we can claim proud because IEM become one of the largest civil society organizations in our country. Meanwhile the Board of Engineers Malaysia also known as BEM was formed in August 1972. Its primary role is to facilitate the registration of engineers and regulate the professional conduct and practice of registered engineers in order to safeguard the safety and interest of the public. Thus , with the two organizations that been assigned to inspect the engineers in our country, we can say that professionalism and work ethics has been really important in order to build the quality in our engineers for development of our country as well as having broader knowledge in technical parts.

To discuss about the role of engineers in nation building, first we need to realize that the aspect of engineering is all over in our daily life. Take the example of the straw, without understanding the principle of atmospheric pressure and difference in pressure in two liquid, we cannot invent the straw that been used for drinking water. In broader perspective, we can say that, the country that the inventor of the straw is living in will have the tremendous growth in their economy because of their citizen that selling straw patent to all over the world. That is only one example, how about in large scale or in term of industry usage?. For example, the inventor that invent the heat exchanger?, or perhaps the inventor of the calculator?. My point here is, it does not really need to be a wise person in order to recognize the contribution of engineers in this world. However, we should really understand that without professionalism and work ethics one cannot be a good engineer that will contribute to the development of the country. For instance, I can concluded that professionalism and work ethics is comprising of five major parts, first is integrity and competency, integration and communication, internalization and cooperation, followed by educating the future and finally engineers must be able to move forward.

Integrity can be defined as consistency between one’s actions, values, methods, measures and principles. While competency can be defined by a person who can handle a job properly whilst it means a person who really qualified or recognized by a professional bodies in order to complete specific task area. The value of the engineers is measured by the knowledge in the minds whereas principle is the quality one should has in their characteristics in order to prevent them from entering the ethical dilemma scenario. With the stories of the ethical misconduct being on the headlines of the news every day, we should be aware that publics are giving spotlight to us even if some of the cases are not being investigated thoroughly yet. In order to take part in our nation building regarding the integrity and competency elements engineers can share their ideas, offer solutions and engaging into publics into public discussions. This action would spontaneously will establishing the role of engineers into society. We as engineers are well aware about our idea that is based on fact and figures, hence as we are into publics sharing our expertise based on the fact and figures this will give a new way of enlighten about certain issues regarding engineering problems. Currently, in this new era, engineering discipline is not about mechanical, electrical and civil engineering anymore. We have a lot of integration discipline, for example bio-medical engineering, mechatronic engineering, nanotechnology engineering and many more. All of these multidisciplinary engineering was introduced in order to fulfilled the needs in this fast moving world. New multidisciplinary fields such as nanotechnology combine a host of related subjects from biochemistry, pharmacology, and medicine to mathematics, computer science, and of course, basic engineering principles. Biotechnology, another field of great potential, merges engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, other life sciences and medicine. These, and other disciplines of the future, require engineers to master an overwhelming array of technical knowledge. Hence, the art of communication is very important for us to be in line with this trend in our engineering circle. This is because, all these multidisciplinary fields required the ability to manipulate information into knowledge as well as understanding and communicate across the discipline.

In this global area, we as engineers must thinking in broader perspective in line with this post modern era. With all the benefits presently, such as borderless communication, mobility of labor and capital we do not have much reasons for not engaging into this opportunity. This is for sure will drastically increase our economic growth that will lead to better development of our nation. Our engineers should aim at achieving engineering excellence not only in our homeland but also across the world. We can fly further and soar higher if we leverage on one another’s strengths and broaden our intellectual and business networking. The best part is this is not an impossible task to handle anymore as we are surrounded by all the facilities that makes life easier. This is what I mean for internalization and cooperation parts for the engineers. As I mentioned earlier about engaging the engineers into the public, engineers should also be able to educate the future in order to build our nation. We also must be able to move forward because as we all know engineering is really a fast progressive profession. Thus we should be able to prepare our future generation with the knowledge that can embrace them into many different complex issues in the future. Meanwhile, for educating the future that is not necessary to be translated literally, but as long as our engineers show the good attitude and qualities into the society , I believe that this will beneficially educate our future engineers becoming a good engineers that can contribute to our country.

In conclusion, the role of engineers for developing the country is something that cannot be deniable. On the contrary, to become the engineers that really contribute to the country we must be able to practice the code of professionalism and work ethics in our profession as an engineer.

Thank you.