By ZAM KARIMbytz@thestar.com.my
KUALA LUMPUR: The formation of the Malaysia Board of Technologists (MBOT) is a step closer to becoming reality.
An open-day of discussion was held this week to get feedback from the various stakeholders - engineers, technicians, government agencies, academicians and other interested parties.
"After this session, the information will be processed and conclusions made before we finalise everything with the Attorney-General," said Kamel Mohamad, a senior undersecretary at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti).
There has already been one other public hearing and 23 closed-door discussions on the draft MBOT Bill, according to him.
The next step is to present the draft to the Cabinet for consideration. A copy of the current draft is online at http://bit.ly/GEnCRo.
MBOT is to enable the registration of engineering technologists and technicians, and to further assist in their professional development.
It is also aimed at giving recognition to the profession, while complementing the efforts of the existing Board of Engineers Malaysia.
Mosti has been tasked with setting up MBOT.
One issue that was brought up during the latest discussion was that the term "technologist" in the initial draft was too vague, and that a clearer definition was needed.
Another concern was whether or not the board would be able to handle the sheer numbers of engineers, engineering technologists and technicians who would be registering with it. Yet another was the registration costs which could be a burden.
The Malaysian Society for Engineering and Technology (MySet) is backing MBOT. Its president, Prof Datuk Abang Abdullah Ali, said engineers is the largest professional group in the country.
He said there are more than 200,000 engineers nationwide, with an even larger number of technicians. But only 12,000, or about 6%, have successfully been qualified as professional engineers (PEng).
"The majority of them are either doing engineering technologists' jobs or have migrated to other vocations, such as banking and finance," Abang said.
At the same time, he added, engineering technicians are in "dead men's shoes," with no provision for professional development or recognition.
Mosti is still accepting feedback on MBOT. You can post your questions or comments on Facebook (www.facebook.com/1mbot) or Twitter (twitter.com/mbot_2012) until April 10. Or, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.