The Malaysian Bar, which has some 10,000 members, has a special responsibility to be actively concerned and intimately involved about the gross injustice perpetrated by the Legal Profession Qualifying Board on the innocent, honest and hardworking CLP candidates who had passed the examination this year for two reasons:
Firstly, in discharge of their statutory responsibilities placed on
them by Parliament under section 42(1) of the Legal Profession
Act 1976 on the “Object and powers of the Bar” which includes:
Secondly, as the Malaysian Bar and Bar Council are party to the “overkill” Qualifying Board decision and the gross injustice suffered by the innocent, honest and hardworking CLP candidates as the Qualifying Board membership comprised the Bar Council Chairman, Mah Weng Kwai.
Mah in fact owes not only the Malaysian Bar, the CLP candidates but also the Malaysian public a full and satisfactory explanation as to why the Qualifying Board came to such a grossly unfair and unjust decision to deal with the CLP examinations leak scandal by indiscriminately nullifying the CLP examination results, penalising the overwhelming majority of the successful CLP candidates who are innocent, honest and hardworking.
I am strongly of the view that the overwhelming majority of the successful CLP candidates this year, as in the recent few years when there were prevalent talks of leaks of CLP examination papers, are innocent, honest and hardworking - and there can be no justification to condemn and penalise them in one swoop together with the minority guilty CLP candidates.
This year, only 25.19% or 232 of the total of 921 candidates achieved clear passes in the CLP examination, which is a very low rate of passes. The question that immediately comes to mind is why there is such a low rate of passes, whether there is a policy to deliberately keep the pass rate low, and how low the pass rate would have been if not for the CLP examinations leaks.
Assuming that ten per cent of the 232 CLP passes were the result of the CLP examination leaks - which is already a very high percentage - it would still be a gross injustice to penalise the rest of the 90 per cent of the successful CLP candidates by nullifying their results.
The Qualifying Board should leave no stone unturned to ferret out the guilty parties in the CLP examination scam and impose the most severe penalty on the guilty candidates involved - but it should not be carefree and indifferent about the injustices to the innocent, honest and hardworking CLP candidates who had passed.
In indiscriminately nullifying the CLP examination results this year, where 25.19% or 232 of the total of 921 candidates achieved clear passes in the examination, the Qualifying Board is penalising the overwhelming majority of the 232 successful candidates while giving the 74.81 per cent or 689 CPM candidates who did not get full passes another opportunity in the examination. This is a very ham-fisted way of handling the problem where justice is completely sidelined and sacrificed to protect the “face” and culpability of the Qualifying Board members for the examination leaks.
The CLP examination scam should focus attention on the overall conduct of the Legal Profession Qualifying Board, its failure to maintain the credibility, integrity and reputation of CLP and various other legitimate grouses, whether it be the low pass rate every year, whether this has any connection with the CLP examination leak, whether there is any conflict of interest between those responsible for the conduct of the CLP and those who operate law schools or tuition courses, etc.
A body representing all former, current and future CLP candidates, as well as lawyers generally, should be formed to uphold justice, fair play and the reputation of the CLP - starting with the immediate challenge, to get the Legal Profession Qualifying Board to rescind its “overkill” decision and gross injustice to indiscriminately nullify the results of the CLP examination results this year.