KUALA LUMPUR: Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali has promised to look into a controversial change to the Criminal Procedure examination paper for external law graduates sitting for their Certificate of Legal Practice (CLP).
The Star quoted him as saying: “I am extremely upset about this and will be taking action. However, I cannot disclose now what specific action I will be taking.”
According to a report in The Star, lecturers and students are angry with a last-minute format change to the CLP examination, which will determine the future of more than 1,000 aspiring lawyers.
It said notice of the change in format for the Criminal Procedure paper was posted on the Legal Profession Qualifying Board’s portal only on May 25, although the board had decided on it almost six months earlier, on Dec 7 last year.
The students are sitting for the examination in August, barely two months away.
Previously, candidates could answer their choice of four out of seven questions in the Criminal Procedure paper. This year, they must answer one compulsory question and three others of their choosing, The Star reported.
It quoted Baljit Singh Sidhu, an adjunct professor at a private college in Kuala Lumpur, as saying students were puzzled by the board’s delay in announcing the change.
“The CLP examination is one of the toughest examinations a law graduate will ever face, yet they only got to know of the change two months before the examination,” he told The Star.
He said students were also not informed of the nature of the compulsory question or how much weight it would carry in the final tally.
“We have sought clarification from the board, but to no avail,” he was quoted as saying.
The report said most students interviewed in the Klang Valley, George Town and Ipoh were not happy with the short notice as it had affected their preparations.
It detailed some of the concerns of students who will be sitting for the exam.
The Star said it tried to get clarification from Legal Profession Qualifying Board director Haslina Mansor by telephone, but that her assistant said to submit any enquiries by e-mail.
Overseas law graduates who hold recognised law degrees or LLBs are required to take the CLP examination which comprises Civil Procedure, General Paper, Criminal Procedure, Professional Practice and Evidence.
Candidates must pass all five papers in one sitting but are given up to four attempts to obtain their CLP, depending on how they perform.