Tuesday, December 13, 2011

‘Non-engineers should not own firms’

‘Non-engineers should not own firms’

PETALING JAYA: Thousands of engineers in the country will have to “close shop” if the Government allows non-professionals to own and operate consultancy practices, the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) says.

“If anyone is allowed to own 100% equity in an engineering consultancy practice, even a fish monger can start a consultancy firm and hire engineers to work for him,” IEM president Vincent Chen said.

Chen added that this could be avoided by making sure that the equity of engineering consultancy practice remained in the hands of professional engineers.

He said IEM was not against the Cabinet's directive to open up the engineering consultancy practice to support free trade and liberalisation but the move must be confined to professional engineers only.

Chen was expressing concern over the proposed amendments to the laws following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's announcement in Budget 2012 that the engineering consultancy practice would be opened up to allow anyone, including foreigners, to own 100% equity in the practice.

Chen said those responsible for amending the laws should take into account the engineers' concern when drafting the laws.

Currently, he said, there were about 3,500 engineering consultancy practices in the country.

He also claimed engineering decisions could be compromised if the business owner had undue influence in what engineers should or should not do.

“Consumers can also be adversely affected if safety standards are compromised as a result of having non-professional engineers owning the practice,” he said.