Legal Profession Qualifying Board has opened an even bigger “can of worms” in  the conduct and credibility of CLP examinations,  piling sheer  incompetence and denial on injustices and negligence

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Legal Profession Qualifying Board has opened an even bigger “can of worms” in the conduct and credibility of the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) examinations, piling sheer incompetence and denial on injustices and negligence.

Earlier jubilation turned to anguish and outrage when the Qualifying Board announced the results of the “regrading” of the CLP July main examination, failing 113 of the students who had passed the July examination, representing a final pass rate of only 119 or 12.92% (which must be the lowest in the history of CLP), with 170 of the original 228 students granted conditional passes.

The Board Chairman, Datuk Seri Ainum Mohd Saaid said that the Board had not re-marked or re-graded the answer scripts.  She said: “What we have done is to take the genuine marks from the answer sheets and transfer them to a new master sheet, from which we regraded the students”.

The public have been told that the Board had found  “substantial irregularities” between examiners’ marks on answer scripts and the master sheet compiled by the director of CLP examinations Khalid Yusof.

Asked who was responsible for the discrepancies and the tampering with the examination results, Ainum said:

“We believe it is the director himself.  His typists assisted him in putting the marks on the master result sheet. He instructed the typists.” (New Straits Times 28.11.2001)

The immediate question which comes to the mind of Malaysians is why Khalid has not yet been dismissed by the Board  and arrested by the police for the crime of  tampering with the CLP examination results!  This is not a commendable reflection on the Chairman of the Board, who is still the Attorney-General and other members of the Board, comprising two judges, the Bar Council chairman and an academician!

The Board has opened an even  bigger “can of worms” because its decision yesterday had not put to rest the injustices and scandals of the CLP examinations, but raised more disturbing questions about this year’s as well as past   CLP examinations.

On Monday, the  Board secretary, Datuk Abdul Wahab Said said that it was the marks-tampering and not examination paper leaks which was the main reason for the nullification of the July CLP examinations - with a substantial number of irregularities between marks awarded by examiners and those disclosed by the director, with an unspecified number of answer scripts illegally marked up or down.

The results after “re-grading” by the Board however showed only adjustments of scripts “illegally marked up” but not those “illegally marked down” -  those who deserved to pass but whose results had been tampered into failing!

Why did  the Board fail to do  justice in these cases of students who had been unfairly victimised by the marks-tampering scandal into failing when they should have passed?

Can the Board explain why they only dealt with scripts “marked up” and not with scripts “marked down” as there had not been a single case of those who failed in the July examination being re-graded as having passed!

Many new questions are raised by the bigger “can of worms” opened yesterday.

Firstly, if the disrepancy and marks tampering are  so prevalent,  where the marks on answer scripts are tampered for the  master sheet announcing the CLP results, the question of the integrity of the past CLP examination results immediately come into question.

Ainum was irresponsible in her response to a question yesterday  whether marks from previous years had been similarly compromised by tampering, saying: “You must understand that this is a new board with members coming on board only this year.  The July exam is the first exam conducted under our charge and we are not aware of what has happened in the past”.

Public interest demand an investigation of the extent past CLP examination results had been compromised with  the marks on the answer scripts tampered with in the preparation of the master sheet - an exercise which could be easily accomplished.

There is however a further question - the integrity of the individual marking of the examination papers, especially as Bar Council Chairman Mah Weng Kwai, who heads the Board’s review committee, has said that the Board will review the list of those who set the CLP questions as well as the examiners.
The different dimensions of the CLP scandal which warrant  scrutiny include:

For this reason, Parliament cannot continue to shut its eyes and ears to the CLP scandal and all MPs, whether Barisan Nasional, Barisan Alternative or DAP should join hands to pass an unanimous motion  for the establishment of  a  Royal Commission of Inquiry into the conduct and credibility of  CLP examination, including the exam paper leak and marks-tampering scandals, with recommendations as to whether there should be a total revamp of the Qualifying Board, legislative amendments to the Legal Profession Act and generally how to restore public confidence in the integrity of the CLP and the administration of justice in Malaysia.


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman