The double scandal of the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) examination paper leak scam and the Board's unjust and indiscriminate nullification of the CLP 2001 examination results have called into question the relevance of the present constitution of the Qualifying Board under the LPA.
The proposal by lawyer Datuk R.R. Sethu for a revamp of the Qualifying Board for it to be established under a separate parliamentary statute under the Education Ministry or the body responsible for higher education has considerable merit and deserves closer study by MPs through the Dewan Rakyat Standing Committee on Law Reforms.
Sethu's contention that the Bar Council and the judiciary should not have a claim to membership of the Qualifying Board, as "they have their own problems", and his proposal that the appointing authority should be empowered to appoint members from the practising bar (not the Bar Council or Bar committee), any judge (not necessarily nominated by the Chief Justice or Chief Judge) and legal academics should be the subject of extensive public discussion and debate.
Sethu's proposals deserve the most serious consideration by Parliament,
the legal and judicial services and the civil society, as
the time has come for the country to demand generally higher standards of openness, accountability and transparency in the appointment and modus operandi of public officers and public organs, including members of the judiciary.
The time has also come for Parliament to establish a more activist tradition
for legislation, as in establishing a Standing Committee on Law Reforms
to take the initiative to pass or amend laws instead of waiting for new
legislation or legislative amendments to wind their tortuous way
from the Executive to Parliament which acts as a mere rubber stamp to give