Call on all Members of Parliament from  BN, BA and  DAP to unite on Monday to demand justice and stop  Legal Profession Qualifying Board from penalising innocent, honest and hardworking candidates who had passed the CLP examination this year

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Wednesday): All Members of Parliament, regardless of whether Barisan Nasional, Barisan Alternative or DAP should unite when Parliament reconvenes on Monday to demand justice and stop the Legal Profession Qualifying Board from  penalising innocent, honest and hardworking candidates who had passed the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) examination this year.

Parliament on Monday should pass an unanimous motion to ask the Legal Profession Qualifying Board to reconsider and rescind its  “overkill”  decision to nullify results of the CLP July main examination and October supplementary examination following the Malay Mail expose  last month of the CLP examination papers-for-sale scam.

It  is  a gross and manifest injustice to nullify the CLP examinations results this year as it penalises  the honest and hardworking candidates who are the most innocent party involved in the CLP scandal - unlike  the other three parties who must bear culpability, viz:  (I) the direct culprits from the Qualifying Board responsible for the sale of leaked examination papers; (ii) students who bought the leaked papers; and (iii) the Qualifying Board  responsible for the proper  conduct, standards and integrity of the examination.

Those involved in the merchandising and purchase of  the leaked CLP papers must be investigated and brought to justice; and even the Legal Profession  Qualifying Board must bear responsibility for its negligence and failure to safeguard the integrity, credibility and reputation of the CLP - but it is double injustice to penalise the innocent, honest and hardworking candidates who had trusted in the professionalism of the Qualifying Board in conducting an honest and reputable examination.

Attorney-General, Datuk Seri Ainum Mohd Saad, who is Chairman of the Qualifying Board, said yesterday that there were indications that there may have been leaks in previous years’ examinations. (New Straits Times 14.11.2001).

This is true, as in the past few years, the Qualifying Board seemed to be the only body unaware of the prevalent  talk about “leaked” CLP examination papers.

Is the Qualifying Board  therefore  considering nullifying the CLP results of the previous years, as Ainum talks about “the bigger interest of the integrity of the exams” prevailing against “individual interests” and the Qualifying Board in its statement on Monday proclaimed that  “it cannot accept any compromise on matters that touch upon the integrity, credibility and reputation of the examinations”.

It would be most scandalous if the Qualifying Board nullifies the CLP examination results of the past few years because of the leakage of CLP exam papers, disqualifying lawyers who are already in practice - just as it is scandalous to nullify the CLP exam results  of innocent, honest and hardworking candidates this year.

The Qualifying Board, in full co-operation with the police which has established a task force into the CLP leaks, can take action to disqualify the professional standings of lawyers who have passed their CLP in previous years if there are evidence of their  purchase of leaked examination papers, just as actions can and must be taken against those involved in the current CLP examination papers scam, whether selling or buying - but under no circumstances should innocent victims whether present or past be penalised by indiscriminate “overkill” actions like nullifying the entire  CLP exam results.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department , Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim said on Monday that the report on leaks in the CLP examinations indicates that one or two insiders could be involved.

The Malaysian public are entitled to know  why the authorities are not focussing on the insiders responsible for this CLP scandal, rather than coming down harshly and unjustly on the innocent, honest and hardworking CLP candidates.

Parliament will be failing in its duty if it does not address this issue at the first available opportunity, which is Monday when it reconvenes after the Deepavali break, not only because the Legal Profession Qualifying Board is constituted by an Act of Parliament under the Legal Profession Act 1976, but also because Parliament should be the highest forum in the country for the ventilation of  all forms of rank injustices.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman