Purpose of CLP exam - you tell me

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I refer to the recent Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) results and I share the concerns with the many people who have written to the daily newspapers about the lack of transparency in dealing with the examination.

It is difficult to comprehend that out of over 1,000 students sitting for the examination, only 107 passed this exam. This pass rate of 10% cannot be fair and there is no basis to it. What is ironic and not mentioned is the fact that the 10% pass rate this year also includes those re-sitting the exam. This means, of the 107 who passed, many of them have sat for the CLP exam several times.

Thus the figures of 10% is misleading. It should be more appropriately said that for first-timers who sit the CLP examination the pass rate is from 6% to 10%. Assuming the quoted figure of a 10% pass rate, surely the remaining 90% of students who fail the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) cannot be that unintelligent enough to pass?

One must keep in mind that 90% of the 1,000 over students who sit for the CLP yearly are foreign graduates or foreign degree holders. Are we saying foreign universities, namely those in the UK, do not train their law degree holders well?

In most professional examinations, the pass rate or difficulty bar is raised to prevent an influx of entrants into a certain profession either because of the large volume of entrants yearly or due to the fact that they want to maintain a high quality.

In the case of the legal profession in Malaysia however, the purpose of making this exam ridiculously difficult does not achieve this goal.

This is because of the fact that every year, thousands of local law graduates enter the legal profession. In fact UiTM alone churns out over 1,000 law graduates a year who automatically enter the legal profession as they are exempt from the taking the CLP course.

So what is the purpose of making the CLP examination extremely difficult? It seems like a concerted effort to penalise foreign-graduated students for being 'foreign-graduated students'. It would seem that it is to penalise the students who take external law degree courses in Malaysia ie, the LL.B from London External.

Many people go overseas to do their LL.B not because they just want to go to do their law degree overseas, but because they find it difficult to get a place in local universities to do law due to the quota and limited number of places. That is why many students struggle to finance themselves, scraping for every cent, to enable them to study overseas to do their law degree.

Unfortunately, when they come back, they are penalised by an exam which is virtually impossible to pass.

The government complains about the brain drain, but when foreign students opt not to do the foreign English Bar exam and not to remain and work overseas but to come back to Malaysia to do their CLP and contribute to their beloved country Malaysia, they are penalised.



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