Malaysian institute decries non-professional market entry

12 January 2012

The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) has warned the government over plans to allow ‘non-professionals’ to own and operate consultancy practices. According to the IEM, thousands of Malaysian engineers will have to end their businesses if restrictions are lifted.

IEM president Vincent Chan said, “If just anyone is allowed to own 100 per cent equity in an engineering consultancy practice, even a fishmonger can start a consultancy firm and hire engineers to work for him. This can be avoided by ensuring that the equity of such practices remains in the hands of professional engineers.”

The plans were announced during Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s ‘Budget 2012’ speech in which he said the right to own 100 per cent of a consultancy practice would be opened up to all, including foreigners.

Chen said that the IEM was not against the promotion of free trade and liberalisation but such moves must be confined to professional engineers only. He added that those responsible should take into account the concerns of engineers when drafting laws.

There were approximately 3,500 engineering consultancy firms in Malaysia as T&TI went to press.

Chen concluded by saying that engineering decisions could be compromised. He added, “Consumers can also be adversely affected if safety standards are compromised as a result of having non-professional engineers owning the practice.”