Ethics of Engineering

Lecture Week 9
7 & 8 Nov 2016
Ir Ishak Arshad
Lecture Week 9
1) The duties of corporate, corporate
responsibility , moral & legal obligation
2) Engineers Moral Rights,
3) Confidentiality,
4) Conflict of interest,
5) Gifts & Corruption and
6) Issues in Sustainable Development
(1) The duties of corporate, corporate
responsibilities and moral & legal
• A corporation is a company or group of
people authorized to act as a single
entity, (legally a person) and recognized
as such in law.
• Limited/Public Limited Companies/ or
(1) The duties of corporate, corporate
responsibilities and moral & legal obligation
Corporate Responsibilities:
• earning a fair return for investors and share holders
• other responsibilities to employees, customers &
general public:
a) Moral & ethical responsibilities
b) Legal responsibilities
c) Social responsibilities
(1) The duties of corporate, corporate
responsibility and moral & legal obligation
a) Moral & Ethical Responsibilities
- honest, fairness, public concerned
- responsible to customers on product produced/
sold (good product) or services provided
- using ethical procedures in operations
(1) The duties of corporate, corporate
responsibility and moral & legal obligation
Legal Responsibilities
- responsibilities according to the law of the country
(Employment Acts, Work Safety Act etc)
Construction machinery collapses onto car in Meru.docx
- responsibilities for operation & products
: Operation – will not harm, give danger, or ill
health to employees & public
: Products or services will not harm, give danger,
or ill health to cusrtomers/users
(1) The duties of corporate, corporate
responsibility and moral & legal obligation
c) Social responsibilities
- Concerned with employee relations & their welfare
- Good neighbors - giving support & donation to local
schools, local communities – giving charitable
(1) The duties of corporate, corporate
responsibility and moral & legal obligation
c) Social responsibilities
Environment: One primary focus of corporate social
responsibility is the environment. Businesses, both large and
small, have a large carbon footprint. Any steps they can take to
reduce those footprints are considered both good for the
company and society as a whole.
Philanthropy: Businesses also practice social responsibility by
donating to national and local charities. Whether it involves
giving money or time, businesses have a lot of resources that
can benefit charities and local community programs.
Ethical labor practices: By treating employees fairly and
ethically, companies can also demonstrate their corporate social
responsibility. This is especially true of businesses that operate
in international locations with labor laws that differs.
(2) Engineers Moral Rights
Moral rights as an engineer (professional
• The rights as:
1. Humans
2. employees (wage earners)
3. professional
• These rights should be respected and given
due recognition
Engineers Moral Rights
1. The Rights as humans • the rights to live
• the rights for freedom to do things that
are of our interests
• the rights for freedom to live eg the right
to work for a living
• the rights not to be unfairly discriminated
in employment on the basis of gender,
race, age or status
Engineers Moral Rights
2. The rights as employees (for wage
The rights as employees - there are certain
rights according to the contract of
• The rights to receive fair salary &
reneumerations eg allowances, leaves
and facilities (such as medical facilities,
SOCSO, EPF etc.)
• The rights to engage in the non-political
Engineer Moral Rights
3. The Rights as Professional -to exercise judgement
in pursuing professional responsibilities:
The rights to make independent assessments based
on code of professional practice etc such as design
codes, standard specifications or based on
experiences - without intimidation or coercion
The rights to refuse in unethical behavior or breaking
the laws eg forging documents, altering test results,
lying, giving or taking bribes
The rights to talk to the public about his (engineers)
duties and responsibilities
The rights to protect the safety of clients and the
public from the harm done by others
Engineers Moral Rights
3. The Rights as Professional ... continue
• The rights to give services or contributions on
certain aspects, such as solving technological
problems related to comfort, health and public
• the rights to professional recognition for the
work done
• The rights to involve in professional societies
(3) Confidentiality
• The duty to keep secret any information of
his employer / past employers or clients – abt
the company’s business, technical processes,
information on brand products (proprietary)
eg patents, special formula / recipes / trade
secrets etc
• This information can not be disclosed - for the
company to compete effectively against
business rivals
Ethics & Confidentiality
1) An engineer shall not disclose any
business information of his employer or
his previous employer (Refer Code No
12 of the Codes of Ethics of the
Institute of Engineers Malaysia )
2) The obligation to the client - honest,
straight forward, competent, diligent,
loyal and keeping secret - Professional
Keeping Secrets
• Professional-client relationships - will involve
the facts and information that is obtained
from the client / employer - this information
should be kept confidential.
• The act of concealing this information is
legally protected under the common law. As
an employee a Professional can not be forced
to reveal all the secrets of his client to the
Keeping Secrets
This information may be disclosed with the
consent of the client OR
If the client does not give consent, it can still
be disclosed, if this is for the good of their
For example in the negotiations on behalf of a
client, there may be benefits if the client
informed of confidential information to other
parties such as the client get the project etc.
Keeping Secrets
Disclosure of confidential information to
the professional interests are allowed in
two situations:
a) to received the agreed service fee
b) to defend himself from accusations of
wrong doing by the client ( in cases
where the client does not want the
information to be disclosed because it
would show the client illegal activities)
Keeping Secrets
Disclosure of confidential information ...
Example: an engineer is accused of stealing
information about the production process of
the previous client.
To prove the truth, he must disclose the
information to show that the process used is
• Whistleblowing occurs when an employee or a
former employee conveys information abt
misconduct or unethical acts or moral problems in
an organization to outside organisation eg
journalists, politicians, consumer associations,
NGOs etc.
There are two opinions on this issue,
1. To allow it and it is necessary - to expose unethical
acts in the organization that could bring harm to
2. Not to allow it – this attitude is unfaithful to the
organizations, it could affect the organization's
There are five situations that allows a professional to
1. If the unethical acts/harm would cause potential
harm to local community
2. The harm can be proven –adequately documented.
3. If the concern has been reported to immediate
4. If efforts have been made to improve the unethical
acts using regular channel in the organization but
not satisfactory
5. The unethical is related to the organization’s policy
and the whistleblowing can prevent the harm
In many cases a whistle-blower have
suffered unhappy fates
• he acts alone, unrewarded and fraught
with peril (dalam keadaan bahaya)
• will not get support
• success (if applicable) only with
retirement from the post and will not
get proper compensation and sometime
being blacklisted within the profession
Procedures for whistle-blowers:
In a normal situation, try working first through
normal channels in the organizations
Submit the complain or opinion to the right
channel in the organization
Do it carefully – be considerate of the feelings of
those involved
Focus on the related issues avoiding any
personal criticisms
Keep supervisors informed of your actions
Be accurate in your observations & claims and
keep formal records of the relevant evidences
Guidance for whistle-blowers:
7. Consult trusted colleagues, avoid isolation
8. Consult with the Ethics Committee of your professional
society such as from the Inst of Engineers etc, before
disclosing information outside the organization
9. Consult a lawyer concerning potential legal liabilities
To manage Whistles Blowing:
• Sometimes it is a practical moral necessity
• Sometimes it is misunderstood and may lead to many
The whistleblowing can be avoided if:
• organization to allow greater freedom and
openness of communication within the
• the establishment of an ombudsperson
(pegawai khas) or the Ethics Review Committee
in the organization to investigate complaints
and make independent recommendation to
top management
• The Organizations to resolve any conflicts
that arise without exposing it to outsiders
5) Gifts, bribes and kickbacks
Bribe – a substantial amount of money or
goods offered beyond a stated
business contracts, aimed at getting
something like a contract, exemption,
privilege, relief etc.
Refer to website – Commission of Anti
Corruption Malaysia
SPRM_act 2009_BI.pdf
(Offences-Sec 16 -23, Penalties – Sec 24)
Can gifts or souvenirs be classified as a bribe?
GIFTS (souvenirs): (refer pg 32 SPRM)
• one form of bribe/corruption.
• giving/ accepting with the intention as a bribe is a criminal offense.
• A Government officer shall not accept any gift from any party if the
gift has to do with his official duties
• The form, amount and value of the gift is not commensurate with the
purpose of the given gifts
• This offense is specified in Rule 8, Rules of the Public Officers
(Conduct and Discipline) Regulations, 1993.
A public officer may receive a souvenir/gift if:
• gifts or souvenirs given not as a corruption.
• need to report and get permission from his Head of Department (Circular No.3 1998 -Reception Gifts and Entertainment Public
Codes of Institute of Engineers Malaysia
related to corruption
Code No 13:
An engineer shall not receive any remuneration in relation
with his professional services to the employer other than
the employer or the employer's permission. He also should
not accept directly or indirectly any royalties, gift or reward
of any article or process used in or for the purposes of the
work he did for the employer unless or until royalties, gift
or reward has been approved in writing by the employer
Corruption News.docx
Act 694 – Malaysian Anti- Corruption
Commission Act 2009
Definition of ‘Gratification’ (pg 12- 13)
Offences and Penalties of accepting gratification
Sect 16 (a)- (pg 22)
SPRM_act 2009_BI.pdf
1) Penalties for offenses under the Act - Sect
16,17,20,21,22 & 23:
a) imprisonment not exceeding 20 years
b) fine 5 x value of the bribe or RM10,000,
whichever is higher
2) other penalties
a) The dismissal - can not pensions and gratuities
(for government servant)
b) Shame - affected family name
c) Commit a sin (to God)
Corruption / Bribery
3) Ethics violation on Coruption
a) Ethical Theory – dishonest
b) Violate the Codes of Ethics Institute of
Engineers Malaysia - Code13 & Code of Ethics
of the Board of Engineers Malaysia. The
penalty “ to be deregistered as a Professional
c) Professional Ethics – misused the power, rank
and position for personal gain
d) moral ethics
e) religious ethics
f) ethical duty
Some of the causes why people is involved
in Corruption:
1. Expenses that exceed income – like to
borrow money & use of credit card
2. Pressure in life due to the debt-ridden
3. Having power or authority for certain
4. Influenced by colleague
5. Lack of religious knowledge
Symptoms of Corruption:
1. Luxury living more than income
2. Have an intimate relationship with the
supplier / contractor / agent
3. Like to deal outside offices
4. Often receive a suspicious phone
5. Resigned abruptly
6) Isues in Sustainable Development
Definition of Sustainable development:
Development which minimize damage to
the environment and ecosystem
Issues in sustainable development
The roles and measures that need to
be played by engineers in implementing
sustainable construction projects .
Sustainable Development
Definition of Sustainablity (sustain + ability) = Able to be maintained at a certain rate
or level (Oxford Dictionary)
Sustainability could be defined as an ability or capacity of something to be
maintained or to sustain itself.
If an activity is said to be sustainable, it should be able to continue forever.
Sustainable Development:
"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs –
balancing the needs of living populations against those of living future generation.
It contains within it two key concepts:
• the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to
which overriding priority should be given; and
• the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social
organization on the environment's ability to meet present and future needs."
A development that will minimize damage to the environment and ecosystems
Engineers & Sustainable Development
Engineers as product inventors & directly
involve in physical development:
• Code of Ethics - An engineer must take all reasonable steps to avoid
wastage of natural resources, environmental damage, and damage or
destruction of the waste of human skills and industry
Concern with environment
Think green Eco-efficiency approach
Work for sustainable product & processes –
environmental protection
• To ensure corporation obey applicable law
Sustainability in design:
• Use low impact material – non toxic – sustainably
produced or recycled material
• Design product - Energy efficiency: use manufacturing
processes and produce products which require less
energy eg …
• Emotionally durable design: reducing consumption and
waste of resources by increasing the durability of
products & design
• Design for reuse and recycling: "Products, processes, and
systems should be designed for performance in a
commercial 'afterlife‘
• Sustainable design standards and project design guides eg for civil eng project -less site clearing, minimise
earthwork ,
Sustainability in design…continue
allow water infiltration, less disturbant to environment
• Service substitution: shifting the mode of consumption
from personal ownership of products to provision of
services which provide similar functions, e.g., from a
private automobile to a carsharing service.
• Renewability: materials should come from nearby (local) sustainably managed renewable sources that can
be composted when their usefulness has been exhausted
• Robust eco-design: robust design principles are applied to
the design of a pollution sources
Engineers- Sustainability
Sustainabilty in your production process and
Reducing material requirements (total mass consumed)
Reducing energy consumption
Reducing /eliminate toxic dispersion
Enhancing material recyclability (reuse of materials or energy)
Maximizing sustainable use of renewable resources
Extending product durability
Increasing service intensity (creating value added, while reducing
environmental impacts)
Sustainable Buildings
Involving Architects, engineers, and the client - from site selection,
scheme formation, material selection and procurement, to project
- reduce the collective environmental impacts during the production
of building components, during the construction process &during
the lifecycle of the building (heating, electricity use, carpet cleaning
- This design practice emphasizes efficiency of heating and cooling
systems; alternative energy sources such as solar hot water,
appropriate building siting, reused or recycled building materials; onsite power generation - solar technology, ground source heat pumps,
wind power; rainwater harvesting for gardening, washing
and aquifer recharge;
- on-site waste management such as green roofs that filter and control
stormwater runoff. This requires close cooperation of the design
team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project
stages, from site selection, scheme formation, material selection40and
procurement, to project implementation.
Corporations – Environmental Leadership
Good business if environmentally responsible - example commitments :
• Use ‘Life-cycle strategy for it product –
design for environment
• Develop unified standards throughout its
• Choose suppliers with a record of
environmental concern
Martin, M. W. and Schinzinger, R. 2005. Ethics in
Engineering, 4th Ed., New York: McGraw-Hill
Martin, M. W. and Schinzinger, R. 2010. Introduction to
Engineering Ethics, New York: McGraw-Hill
Mohd Janib Johari 2009. Etika Profesional. Penerbit UTM
SPRM Website– Acts 694 – SPRM Acts 2009 Corruption/Bribes
Adisa Azapagic et al. Sustainable Development in Practice –
Case Studies for Engineers & Scientist. John Wiley