The Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) Accreditation of Private Universities’ Engineering Degree is Important to Students
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Students in Malaysia planning to study engineering should understand what it means to become a professional engineer and the pathway. To become a professional engineer in Malaysia, a student must graduate from an engineering degree that’s accredited by the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM). The Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) is recognised by the Washington Accord because Malaysia is one of its signatories therefore allowing graduates to be able to work in any country that has signed it.
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What is the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM)?
The Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) registers graduates and professional engineers under the Registration of Engineers Act 1967 (Revised 2002). The requirement for registration as a graduate engineer is a degree in engineering recognised by the Board. Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) is the only body certifying Professional Engineers in Malaysia.
This regulatory body for engineering practices in Malaysia was set-up by the Malaysian government under the Registration of Engineers Act (1967) to administer and to enforce the Engineering Act and its provisions to protect public interest.
Only Graduate Engineers and Professional Engineers registered with the Board of Engineers, Malaysia (BEM) are entitled to practice engineering in Malaysia. All engineering practitioner MUST register with BEM within 6-months of practice.
A professional engineer (Ir or PEng) is a person who is licensed to practice to practice engineering in Malaysia after meeting all requirements of the (e.g. pass PI Examination).
What is the Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM)?
The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) is a professional learned society. It was formed in 1959 and was admitted a member of the Commonwealth Engineers Council in 1962. The Institution is a qualifying body for professional engineers in Malaysia.
The Corporate member of the Institution can apply to the Board of Engineers, Malaysia (which is a registration body) for registration as a Professional Engineer, which will entitle him to set up practice. The qualification standards are determined by the Council of the Institution.
The Institution is one of the few professional engineering institutions in the world, which represents all disciplines of the profession, and is thus able to take a broad view of the professional scene.
BEM (Board of Engineers, Malaysia) is different from IEM. BEM is a government body that regulates the
registration of engineers in Malaysia while IEM is a professional Body or Learned Society for engineers.
- If you have to approve or/and submit layouts/designs to the approving authortity, P.Eng is mandatory. But if you are working in the manufacturing sector for instance, you can opt just for the M.I.E.M. Getting either/both the P.Eng or the M.I.E.M is a great personal satisfaction if you ask me and they look absolutely fabulous on your resume.
- Once you get your P.Eng from BEM, you will have to renew your “license” every year in order to be able to continue to use the title Ir. Before you can renew your license, you must complete 40 hours (I may be wrong) of CPD (Continuous Professional Development) .
The Education Pathway to be a Professional Engineer in Malaysia after completing a 4-Year Engineering Degree that’s Accredited by the Board of Engineers Malaysia
The recognized academic qualification for registration as a Graduate Engineer with BEM includes the as a Graduate Graduate
Engineer Engineer with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) includes includes the following:
- An engineering degree accredited/recognized by the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) available in an approved list maintained by BEM
- A pass in Part I & part II of the Engineering Council Examination of United Kingdom or Part I & Part II of the IEM/BEM Graduate Examination in any particular branch for qualifications that is not branch for qualifications qualifications that is not accredited/recognized by BEM/IEM.
- An engineer who has just graduated with a recognised qualification must register with the Board of Engineers Malaysia. He/she can then start to obtain the necessary training and experience, normally four years, before he/she can attempt to sit for the Professional Interview, an exam to qualify Graduate Members of IEM to be transferred to Corporate Members. Corporate Members of Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM) can then apply to upgrade their status to P.Eng. with the Board of Engineers Malaysia.
After graduation, an engineer needs to register with Board of Engineers Malaysia to be a graduate engineer. After a few years of practical experience (supervised by a professional engineer), the graduate engineer can apply to sit for Professional Interview (with IEM). If he/she passes the Interview, he/she can apply to Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) to be a Professional Engineer that entitles him/her to use the title Ir.
- Engineers Act 1967 requires every engineer to be registered with the Board of Engineers, Malaysia (BEM).
- Graduates from recognised degree programmes shall be registered as Graduate Engineer to work as an engineer.
- Practical training of more than 3 years is required for application to sit for Professional Interview (PI).
- A PI candidate will be required to show that he can apply theory in engineering projects, and has acquired the skills of investigation, planning, and design.
- Upon passing the PI, the candidate can then apply to BEM for registration as a Professional Engineer.
Can I still find work with a 3-year engineering degree?
Yes, you can still work as an engineer with a 3-year engineering degree. All UK degrees are 3 years in duration and therefore not accredited by BEM. If you want to become a professional engineer, then you just need to go for the M.Eng.
Generally, becoming a professional engineer is important for Civil Engineers as they need to sign and seal blueprints for the buildings. Other engineering fields do not need to do this so it is up to each individual’s career goals whether to pursue becoming a professional engineer status or not.
Why become a professional engineer in Malaysia?
- If you ever want or need to become a consulting, engineer, you must be licensed as an Ir or P.Eng.
- Only a Ir/P.Eng. can sign and seal engineering documents that are engineering documents that are submitted to a public authority or for public and private clients.
- Many companies encourage licensure and some even pay a bonus for becoming a P.Eng.
- In education, more universities are requiring a Ir/P.Eng. license to lecture in the engineering faculty or for holding certain positions.
- In some industries such as utilities, and government positions, a P.Eng. is required for specified jobs or positions.
- With the engineering profession now operating in an international environment, licensing may be required to work in or for other countries. You will be prepared in the event your career moves in this direction (e.g. APEC Engineers, EMF Int. Engineer Register, Washington Accord)
What is the Engineering Accreditation Council in Malaysia?
Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) has a duty to ensure that the quality of engineering education/programme of its registered engineers attains the minimum standard comparable to global practice.
The objective of accreditation is to ensure that graduates of the accredited engineering programmes satisfy the minimum academic requirements for registration as a graduate engineer with:
- the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM), and
- for admission to graduate membership of Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM)
Hence the necessity to accredit engineering programmes conducted in the public & private universities and colleges in Malaysia. The Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) is the body appointed by Board of Engineers Malaysia for accreditation of engineering degrees in Malaysia.
The EAC is made of representatives of:
- Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM)
- The Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM)
- Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA)
- Public Services Department (Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam Malaysia (JPA)
Frequently Asked Questions about Board of Engineering Malaysia (BEM)
1. What is accreditation?
Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) accreditation is to ensure that graduates of the accredited engineering programmes satisfy the minimum academic requirements for registration as a graduate engineer with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and for admission to graduate membership of IEM.
- Why the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) Accreditation is important?
- Accreditation helps students and their parents to choose quality college programmes.
- Accreditation enables employers to recruit graduates they know are well-prepared.
- Accreditation gives colleges and universities a structured mechanism to assess,
- evaluate, and improve the quality of their programs.
3. Is it true that BEM do not recognize three (3) year degree programmes and only four (4) year programmes are recognized?
All institutions of higher learning in Malaysia have been informed since 2000 that no engineering programmes with 3 years duration of study would be acceptable for BEM’s recognition or accreditation.
Only a four year (or more) programme is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC).
The Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) however provides a pathway for unrecognized engineering degree holders, but they would only be considered upon completing a top up Master programmes (taught mode) in related engineering discipline, on a case to case basis. It must be noted that the 3 year programme will still remain as unrecognized despite the holder having achieved the Master degree.
All Un-Recognized Engineering Degree must do a Top-Up in order to make their degree acceptable by BEM. The Top-Up can be in the form of a “Master Degree” in Engineering by Coursework. An Un-Recognized engineering degree can join IEM as an Incorporated Member
4. What is the requirement to register with BEM as Graduate Engineer and how can I apply?
The main requirement to register with BEM as Graduate Engineer is that the person must graduate from a recognized /
accredited degree by the BEM. The list of accredited degree for local IHL is provided in the EAC and BEM website. Please visit the www.eac.org.my and www.bem.org.my. You can make an application to register as Graduate Engineer by filling up the Borang A at the BEM website. The procedures for the application is stated in the Borang A.
5. Does Board of Engineers Malaysia recognize degrees obtained via online?
Presently, the BEM does not recognized nor accredit any distance learning programme.
6. If a person has recently graduated with (2+2)/ 3+0 twinning programme BEng (Hons) and also a 1 year Master in engineering (coursework) from the same local Malaysian college, will he be allowed to register with BEM?
Provided the twinning programme fulfils the residential requirement in the UK (2 years) and the degree is recognised by ECUK as partially fulfilling the Chartered Engineers (CEng) requirement. Master by coursework in a related discipline is still required for registration.
Note: EAC does not accredit twinning programmes. Only registration with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) requires graduates to have an accredited degree from EAC or recognised by EAC. For twinning programmes of UK, the residential requirement of 2 years in the UK is necessary. It must be an MEng 4 year programme accredited by ECUK.
7. If a student enrolled in any accredited programme, but later on during the programme the accreditation status is withdrawn, then what will be the status of the degree that the student has obtained?
Accreditation with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) is voluntary. However, MQA requires all programmes in Malaysia to be accredited. If it happens that the programme is not accredited, there is not much recourse except the graduate may sue the University for not maintaining the standard to such an extent that accreditation is withdrawn. That is why it is the best that you look for universities with good track record.
8. What is Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM)’s Policy on Recognition for Overseas Programme?
- If the country is a signatory member of the Washington Accord, Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) will recognise the engineering programme based upon the recognition given by the accrediting body of that particular country.
- If the country is a provisional member of the Washington Accord,Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC) will recognise the engineering degree programme on a case by case basis based upon the recognition given by the accrediting body of that particular country.
What is the the Washington Accord?
The Washington Accord is a multinational agreement signed in 1989, which recognises the substantial equivalency of engineering degree programmes accredited by the responsible bodies in each of the signatory countries such as the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM).
Washington Accord is an agreement among the engineering quality assurance organisations of several nations that recognises the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by those organisations.
The agreement paves the way for mutual recognition of accredited programmes, establishing the notion that graduates have met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering in any signatory country.
Signatories have full rights of participation in the Accord; qualifications accredited or recognised by other signatories are recognised by each signatory as being substantially equivalent to accredited or recognised qualifications within its own jurisdiction.
Admission to the Accord is more importantly an endorsement that the engineering education system of the member nation has demonstrated a strong, longterm commitment to quality assurance in producing engineers ready for industry practice in the international scene.
As a Washington Accord signatory, Malaysia’s degrees that have been accredited by Engineering Accreditation Council (EAC)
will be accepted by other Washington Accord signatories.
This means that students who study in universities with engineering degrees that are accredited by MQA and Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) such as Curtin University Sarawak, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, UCSI University and Asia Pacific University may find work in other countries that have signed the Washington Accord.
Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) uses as a guide the list for Professional/Chartered Engineer by the accreditation organisations of the country where the degree is issued.
Candidates are advised to check with the relevant Engineering Accreditation bodies’ web site for the list recognised degrees of professional chartered level.
However, Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) reserves the right to review the list at any time without notice.
Accredited Professional Engineers in Malaysia can work globally because of the Washington Accord
In 2007, Malaysia became a member of The Washington Accord, which recognises experienced professional engineers
represented by responsible bodies. The Washington Accord is a small group of signatories that have agreed to mutually recognise accredited engineering programmes.
Members of The Washington Accord are Hong Kong, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, UK, Ireland, Taipei, Korea, Malaysia and Turkey.
The Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM), The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) and Association of Consulting Engineers Malaysia (ACEM) develop and use the EMF Register as a secure benchmark that allows a professional engineer to be recognised or exempted from licensing or registration in other countries (other than that in which they first gained recognition).
Eligibility for admission to EMF International Register of Professional Engineers Register is limited only to engineers who have completed an accredited or recognised engineering programme, registered with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and is a corporate member of the IEM who is capable of independent practice.
To qualify for admission to EMF International Register of Professional Engineers Register, a candidate must be:
- A Professional Engineer registered with the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and/or a Corporate Member with the Institution of Engineers Malaysia;
- Seven years experience after graduation in a recognised engineering discipline;
- Two years experience in responsible charge of significant work (may be obtained within the seven years experience)
- Maintained their continuing professional development at a satisfactory level.
There are six international agreements governing mutual recognition of engineering qualifications and professional competence. In each of these agreements countries/economies who wish to participate may apply for membership, and if accepted become members or signatories to the agreement. In broad principle, each country/economy must meet its own costs, and the body making application must verify that it is the appropriate representative body for that country/economy.
Agreements covering tertiary qualifications in engineering
There are three agreements covering mutual recognition in respect of tertiary-level qualifications in engineering:
- The Washington Accord signed in 1989 was the first – it recognises substantial equivalence in the accreditation of qualifications in professional engineering, normally of four years duration.
- The Sydney Accord commenced in 2001 and recognises substantial equivalence in the accreditation of qualifications in engineering technology, normally of three years duration.
- The Dublin Accord is an agreement for substantial equivalence in the accreditation of tertiary qualifications in technician engineering, normally of two years duration. It commenced in 2002.
Agreements covering competence standards for practising engineers
The other three agreements cover recognition of equivalence at the practising engineer level i.e. it is individual people, not qualifications that are seen to meet the benchmark standard. The concept of these agreements is that a person recognised in one country as reaching the agreed international standard of competence should only be minimally assessed (primarily for local knowledge) prior to obtaining registration in another country that is party to the agreement.
The oldest such agreement is the APEC Engineer agreement which commenced in 1999. This has Government support in the participating APEC economies. The representative organization in each economy creates a “register” of those engineers wishing to be recognised as meeting the generic international standard. Other economies should give credit when such an engineer seeks to have his or her competence recognised. The Agreement is largely administered between engineering bodies, but there can be Government representation and substantive changes need to be signed off at governmental APEC Agreement level.
The International Professional Engineers agreement commenced in 2001. It operates the same competence standard as the APEC Engineer agreement but any country/economy may join. The parties to the agreement are largely engineering bodies. There are intentions to draw IPEA and APEC closer together.
The International Engineering Technologist agreement was signed by participating economies/countries in 2003. The parties to the Agreement have agreed to commence establishing a mutual recognition scheme for engineering technologists.
The recognition of engineering degree from overseas (full time/twinning) will be based on the accreditation given by professional bodies who are signatories of Washington Accord:
Country / Jurisdiction
|United Kingdom||The Engineering Council (EC)||www.engc.org.uk|
|United States||Accreditation Board for Engineering Technology, US||www.abet.org|
|New Zealand||The Institution of Professional Engineers, New Zealand||www.ipenz.org.nz|
|Australia||The Institution of Engineers, Australia||www.ieaust.org.au|
|Canada||Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, Canada||www.ccpe.ca|
|Ireland||Institution of Engineers of Ireland||www.iei.ie|
|South Africa||Engineering Council of South Africa||www.ecsa.co.za|
|Hong Kong||The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers;||www.hkie.org.hk|
|Japan||Japan Accreditation Board for Engineering Education||www.jabee.org|
|South Korea||Accreditation Board for Engineering Education of Korea||www.abeek.or.kr|
|Singapore||Institution of Engineers Singapore||www.ies.org.sg|
|Chinese Taipei||Institute of Engineering Education Taiwan||www.ieet.org.tw|
Engineering Degree from these countries will be considered on case to case basis:
Country / Jurisdiction
Engineering Accreditation Body
|France||Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur||www.cti-commission.fr|
|European Countries||European Federation of National Engineering Association (FEANI)||www.feani.org|