|Article in The Star, 24 September 2008|
What is the aim of the CLP examination?
The CLP examination is another gateway for legal practice in Malaysia. It is a professional examination designed to gauge whether candidates have reached an acceptable degree of competency to enable them to enter into the legal profession to practise. Thus candidates must be able to identify legal issues raised in the examination questions and advise on an appropriate legal recourse without going into an academic exercise or a discourse on the law.
As the primary aim of the examination is to equip candidates for legal practice the questions set are in the main current, relevant and applicable to legal practice.
The Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB) does not seek to fail any candidate and the scripts are to be marked purely on the candidate's knowledge and merit is the only criteria. As long as the candidates are:
• Able to identify the issues of legal practice involved in a question;
• Able to apply the relevant law and/or procedure to the issues identified;
• Able to explore the legal issues with legal reasoning and analysis;
they ought to be given marks. In that respect the markers are reminded that the answer scheme is just a guide as it is not cast in stone and the markers are allowed to use their discretion when marking the scripts. The rationale for this procedure is that benefit must always be given to the candidate who is able to answer the question. In that regard it is also ensured that candidates who have answered illegibly are not penalized but attempts are genuinely made to ascertain what is written if not by the marker by another marker.
For several years there have been many criticisms hurled at the conduct of the CLP examination and the results of the examination. Amongst the criticisms are that candidates are failed on purpose, there is a racial quota to be met hence the percentage of passes is always low and also that although the examination is to equip candidates for legal practice but it turns out to be test of the candidates' memory function. What is your comment?
The LPQB does not have any racial quota in mind when it endorses the results of the CLP examination. It takes the marks given by markers who are legal experts in their respective fields as they are. The whole CLP examination is only based on one factor and it is MERIT and nothing else.
The examination is not a test of memory function by the candidates. It is the candidates who resort to regurgitation of information memorized by them. Those who fail are just unable to identify the legal and procedural issues raised in the examination questions and deal with them directly. More often the candidates have embarked on an academic exercise or a discourse on the law which is totally unrelated to legal practice. This has disabled the marker from awarding them a pass mark as the candidates fail to reach an acceptable standard for them to pass the examination so as to enable them to enter into the legal profession to practise.