‘Decision against UEC applies to all CLP candidates’

George-Varughese-uecPETALING JAYA: The decision not to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) as an entry requirement for the Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) exam applies to all students, says Malaysian Bar president George Varughese.

Speaking to FMT, he said the decision of the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB) “binds every law student who wants to take the CLP exam, regardless of where they are from”.

Varughese, a current member of the LPQB, was asked to respond to concerns raised by the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) on whether East Malaysian UEC holders would be affected by the board’s 2005 decision.

AAS Sibu branch chairman David Kuok had told FMT that he wanted to hear the board’s official stand on the issue, following remarks from former Malaysian Bar president Khutubul Zaman Bukhari, who said the LPQB could not impose its decisions outside the peninsula.

“The statement by this ex-president seems to be a personal decision, and I want to know whether his statement reflects the board’s stand,” Kuok said.

Khutubul Zaman had said there was no reason for AAS or the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) to be upset as the LPQB had no power in Sabah and Sarawak.

When asked if the board would review the 12-year-old decision, Varughese said he had asked for the issue to be discussed at LPQB’s next meeting in December.

According to a notice on the board’s website, the decision against recognising the UEC as equivalent to SPM or STPM was made in 2005. Those who wish to sit for the CLP need at least two pass grades in the STPM or A-Levels.

The board is composed of the attorney-general, the Malaysian Bar president, two judges and an academic nominated by the government.