Parliament: Law governing engineers updated to raise professional standards in sector

The changes to the law include giving more leeway to the Professional Engineers Board to champion the profession.
The changes to the law include giving more leeway to the Professional Engineers Board to champion the profession.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The law that governs the work of engineers in Singapore has been updated to raise the professional standards of engineers, help Singapore engineering firms expand overseas and increase the flexibility of companies in hiring engineers.

The changes "will raise standards, help professional engineers capture overseas opportunities, and provide a more pro-enterprise environment for local professional engineering firms and contractors", Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said at the debate of the Professional Engineers (Amendment) Bill in Parliament on Monday (Sept 11).

Explaining the changes, Mr Lee said that the engineering sector has grown since 2005 when the law was last updated. The number of registered engineers has risen by 20 per cent to 3,900 while the number of licensed engineering companies has grown from 76 to more than 200.

The operating environment has also changed, said Mr Lee, who is also the Minister for Social and Family Development.

The changes to the law include giving more leeway to the Professional Engineers Board to champion the profession in addition to the education and training role that it currently plays. The board will also be given powers to impose a wider scope of penalties from warnings to maximum fines of up to $100,000. Currently, it can revoke the licences of engineering companies or impose fines of up to $20,000.

The updated law will also pave the way for Asean countries to recognise Singapore engineering certifications, thus helping Singapore engineering companies expand overseas.

Four MPs spoke on the proposed changes to the law. Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) said the updated law can boost the image of the engineering profession, while Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) urged the Government to continue to strengthen engineering expertise in the public sector.