Sunday, October 29, 2006

World's toughest exam

couldn't post this on Friday evening due to being down - then I had to be away

Julian Puvenaswaran, a Malaysiakini reader questioned the true intent of the government’s Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP).Many who had the misfortune to have to take the near-impossible-to-pass CLP exam are also questioning the ridiculous results where only 10% of candidates passed. Furthermore there is a noticeable lack of transparency in the exam process.

Puvenaswaran averred he has enormous difficulties in accepting that out of more than 1,000 students sitting for the exam, only 107 could pass. This incredulous pass rate is further worsened by the fact that the 10% pass rate this year also included those re-sitting the exam. That could well mean that, of the 107 who passed, many might have sat for the CLP exam several times.

Thus, the pass rate for first-timers could be anywhere from 6% to 10%, but more likely the lower end. Puvenaswaran asked whether one could accept that the remaining 90% of students who failed had been that stupid or unintelligent?

Star photo
Raja Singam, Principal of Brickfields Asia College (BAC)
with some of 2008's CLP top scorers from the college

Coincidentally, 90% of the 1,000 over students who sit for the CLP yearly had been graduates of foreign universities. Could it be that those foreign universities, especially those in the UK, did not train their law graduates adequately and competently? What about the external LL.B degree from University of London which has served Malaysians extremely well for eons?

He drew our attention to another fact that every year, thousands of local law graduates enter the legal profession. He revealed that UiTM, as an example, has an annual output of over 1,000 law graduates, all of whom may automatically enter the legal profession, exempt from the CLP exam.

Puvenaswaran believed that the true intent of the CLP exam is nothing more than to penalise graduates of overseas universities, including those who take external law degree courses in Malaysia.

He averred that people were forced to go overseas to do their LL.B not because they just want to go to do their law degree overseas, but because they couldn’t get a place in local universities to do law due to the quota and limited number of places. Many students struggled to finance themselves, scraping for every cent to enable them to study law overseas.

Kaytee observes that the situation is not unlike the case of the Malaysian Medical Council’s (MMC) derecognition of the Crimea State Medical University after a visiting Malaysian minister made a racist comment that there were too many ‘black’ Malaysian students there.

privately-funded graduates from Brickfields Asia College (BAC)
no chance for any of them to get into UiTM

While the MMC has a right to keep an eye on medical standards of overseas teaching universities, there was a lack of transparency in the process of the de-recognition, which seemed on the surface to be triggered by the minister’s racist pronouncement.

Another inconsistency in its decision was allowing an earlier batch of Malaysian students at that university to continue their courses while disallowing later batches of mainly ‘black’ Malaysian students from studying there. If the CMSU is not good enough for Malaysian standards, then it is not good for every batch of Malaysians, not just subsequent batches of mainly 'black' students.

(1) Mediocrity beats Meritocracy
(2) University Admission Figures - One Big Lie!
(3) Good but not good enough?


  1. He drew our attention to another fact that every year, thousands of local law graduates enter the legal profession. He revealed that UiTM, as an example, has an annual output of over 1,000 law graduates, all of whom may automatically enter the legal profession, exempt from the CLP exam.

    --->i dont know how this stupid writer get facts that uitm produced thousand's baseless and prejudicial towards local u grads...

  2. We have law graduates who have not heard of Donoghue v Stevenson or Lord Denning.

  3. You muct be fair to Purvenaswaran, as he didn't say anything about the standards of the UiTM law graduates. All he said was the UiTM graduates needn't do the CLP exams while overseas trained blokes had to. His biff is with the CLP exam, not with UiTM law graduates.

  4. I graduated with an LL.B (Hons) from the University of Malaya. Since I'm Chinese, I had to obtain the maximum 5As in the STPM examinations. Every year, there are about 200 out of 40000 candidates who will obtain the maximum 5As. I was fortunate to have obtained the full points for university entry and was thus given a place at the Law Faculty of UM. I guess the non-bumiputeras sitting for the CLP are facing the same problem as STPM candidates. Bumiputera candidates can opt not to sit for CLP since they qualify for the UiTM Honours Programme (fourth year of the law course in UiTM which also exempts law graduates from sitting for the CLP). I have faced my "CLP" situation before I entered the law school. For those who chose or were forced to choose to read law at foreign universities, now is their CLP time. But it has done much good for the mettle of those of us who have braved this situation and emerged victors. For those who can choose not to go through it and can escape from this situation via quota, policies etc, I can only feel sorry for them for they will not be as strong and tough. The easy way out is not necessarily the best way.

  5. For those who blah blah blah about being brave and emerged as victors , you are really just selfish and pathetic group of people.

    CLP has no system at all OK! The most fundamental thing in the legal system is based on the concept of being transparent! The least CLP can offer is to show the marking scheme and the answers by the end of the exam. At least students know where they go wrong. Yes! We may had failed but at least show us where we went wrong. But the board doesnt do that. We went to see the director but to our dismay, she herself cant tell you where we went wrong.

    10% passing rate! Do you think the rest of 90% didnt study? Maybe 10% did not but the rest of 80% ? How do you explain that.

    The most popular joke which emerge nowadays : CLP has no quota. muhaha

    Do you think we went holiday went we studied for our LLB. We studied hard to you know and came back to this nightmare.

    CLP has no standard at all!

  6. Im LL.B ( UiTM ) Law graduate... but i did not continue with my one year LL.B ( Hons ) programme.. but currently im registered with the CLP programme. Im happy to take CLP eventhough im a UiTM law graduate. The author should do some research stating that UITM LL.B student need not do CLP... which is totally wrong... further she said UITM have at least 1 000 graduate avery year .. which is totally wrong. The author is highly recommended to do research in Legal Education in Malaysia.

  7. Hello, accusation won't just pop up from nothing without cases and evidence ok. Transperency had already been discussed for ages on MAS education system. To government: Come On!

  8. to anonymous that posted on february 19, are you sure you are an LLB UiTM grad? As far as I'm concerned, for LLB grad, no need to take CLP or the one year honours program. You can just do your chambering. However, if you were a bachelor of legal studies grad, then yes, you will have to take CLP or the one year LLB honours program. I know what I'm talking about because I'm a grad of BLS (bachelor of legal studies) and have done a semester in LLB honours. Heres the thing about law studies in UiTM: If you enroll for law degree now and as of a couple of years back- you will grad with a bachelor of legal studies(BLS), NOT LLB. Since BLS is not recognised, you will have to take extra one year programe which after that program you will grad with another law degree, that is LLB. Which means, you will now have TWO degrees- BLS and LLB. So since now you have LLB after doing the one year programe, you can do chambering.

    I'm just embarressed that you dont even know what degree you actually graduated with..

    One thing I want to add here, the extra one year program in UiTM is very tough. My friends who are now lawyers have said that the one year honours program is like ten times tougher than chambering. Basically you have to do tests and presentations like everyday including WEEKENDS- No kidding! You start class early everyday around 8am and ends class at 10pm and then have meetings and what not till after midnight. And this is everyday including weekends. So please dont write UiTM grads of as going through something "easy". Not at all.

  9. There are so many confusions happening here...

    First of all, UiTM did not produce 1,000 law grads every year. The truth is like this...

    Law students in UiTM will do a 3 year degree known as the Bachelor in Legal Studies (Hons.). It is not that this course is not recognised. The fact is, this law degree will not enable its graduate to practice law.

    The history of UiTM law programme is like this... In the 70s and 80s, the students need to do a Diploma in Law [DIL] for 3 years. Then, they will do an Advance Diploma in Law [ADIL] which is equivalant to the LL.B (Hons.).

    Then, the programmes' names were changed i.e from DIL to LL.B and ADIL became LL.B (Hons.). This is due to the fact that UiTM followed early British system in studying law where non-performing students will not be granted an honours on their degree.

    Because an LLB graduate cannot practice nor work in many g'ment sectors fue to the non-existance of (honours) on their degree, BLS (Hons.) was introduced to substitute LL.B programme. Graduates from BLS (Hons.) can work as a legaladvisor but they cannot practice law.

    In order to practice, they need to obtain a one year honours programme in UiTM known as the LL.B (Hons.) which is a professional course or the CLP.

    So, you see, there are UiTM students who take the CLP. This is because, LL.B (Honours) programme is based on merit and there is a limitation imposed to the number of its students. Not all UiTM BLS (Hons.) graduates can automatically do the LL.B (Hons.). Thus, some of them opt to take the CLP.

    And yes, LL.B (Hons) programme is a VERY tough programme. As the earlier commentator said, students will go to class as early as 8 a.m and went back at 12 midnight everyday.

  10. Unfortunately for us, the law graduates of UniSZA LL.B, we still have to do CLP.


  11. So uitm students get a honours for llb they can practise but uol llb honours student need a CLP to practise and people here are still commenting about how uitm and llb London has the same degree of toughness. Right... FYI, llb students have classes from early morning till late night every day including weekends for 3 BLOODY YEARS. YOU GUYS DO ONE YEAR AND YOU COMPLAIN? AND MOST OF US WORK FULL TIME AND STUDY PART TIME TO SUPPORT OURSELVES.