Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Media statement by M. Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in ipoh on 4th January 2017
CLP’s 4 Year Rule is Absurd, Childish and Uncalled for
The Legal Profession Qualifying Board had on 21st December 2016 release a statement that they have amended the rules with regards to the limitation in the number of attempts that a student may attempt to sit for the Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP) exams. It is absurd that the Board has decided that students will be limited to a 4 year period to complete their CLP.

The sole purpose CLP was established is so that students who can’t afford to do their Bar in UK, could still become a lawyer in Malaysia via the CLP examinations. However, the exams have now become a huge burden for students in order to qualify to become a lawyer.

I have been pursuing for a Common Bar Examinations for the past 10 years in Parliament, yet the Board chose to keep silent about it and till to date is not able to that this happens. Even in the UK when a student studies either in Oxford University or a polytechnic, all of them have to go through the same BPTC exams to become a Barrister. Yet here, local universities have different exams, semi- government universities have different exams, and then there is the CLP for foreign law graduates. Where is the uniformity in this?

How is the Board ensuring that every student prior to starting their pupillage have the same quality? Isn’t that what the Board is supposed to ensure? The quality of the students.

The Board should realise, that till to date, none of the Chairperson has qualified via the CLP examination. Making decisions in air-conditioned rooms without knowing the real effect of their decision on students is outright childish. How many students come from difficult families who have to work part-time and pursue this exam and suddenly now all their dreams have been dashed without even a reasonable notice.

The AG being the Chairman of the Board has to answer as to what is the rationale for this decision? Is the AG implying that local law graduates who evidently don’t have to repeat their examinations many times as compared to the CLP, who mainly are working people, are in par or better then CLP graduates? Is he implying that just because students repeat a professional paper many times they are not qualified?

The AG should be reminded that many great lawyers have sat for their exams numerous times, notably the late Mr. Karpal Singh being one of them. Entry for non-bumi’s in local universities is limited. The greater majority of aspiring lawyers don’t get into local universities and this is their only way into the profession, but now it seems like a roadblock for many of those who don’t get into local universities.

The Board has done nothing in the past 30 odd years or so to make the exam more practical like the UK Bar, and many will agree with me that this exam is nothing more then a memorization marathon rather than a practical professional exam.

This also in no way means that local graduates are of no quality, but the playing ground is tilted highly towards the local graduates compared to students who sit for the CLP. I come from a family of cow-herding and subsequently am a lawyer for more then 33 years and an MP. I understand the plight of many students who don’t come from a fortunate background but yet have aspiring dreams to become a lawyer.

It is shameful that the Board has not proven to make any attempts to improve the quality of all law graduates equally but all they have done is get more and more stringent rules for students sitting for the CLP exams.

I will bring this matter up in Parliament in the next sitting and I hope the by then, the Board makes a rationale decision to make decisions to improve the quality of all law graduates.

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