The decision was made during a meeting of the board on Dec 7 and was retroactively enforced the next day.
The announcement made no mention of any specific conditions regarding repeating candidates.
Previously, candidates were allowed to repeat the exams up to eight times through two registrations of four times each.
The amendment now allows them to repeat only four times in one registration; that means one registration is valid only for four years.
The candidates’ main goal is to pass the examination at one sitting but due to various reasons, many of them fail to do so.
Reasons for the failure include working to support their studies and finding it difficult to manage time, language barrier and getting used to the legal language, taking “gap years” to pursue other academic courses, sickness and other unforeseen circumstances.
The recent amendment will have retrospective effect and kill those law graduates’ aspirations of becoming Malaysian lawyers. Not many of them have the option to pursue the Bar Professional Training Course in Britain due to the finances involved, which, depending on the current exchange rate, could range from RM100,000 to RM150,000.
Repeating candidates who have registered earlier and exhausted all four attempts are not against the new amendment in principle, but in the interest of fairness, only asking for the opportunity to register for the upcoming examination in 2017.
The new ruling should only affect prospective candidates who will be registering for the examination in 2017 moving forward.
This new amendment is too rigid and leaves no ground for appeal and review. Even death sentences are subject to appeals.
There is a substantial number of candidates who have exhausted their fourth attempt and are waiting to register for the CLP in March 2017. These are young, talented and energetic Malaysians who are eager to qualify and begin providing legal services to fellow Malaysians and supporting the legal framework.
These candidates who have invested a lot of time and money in their attempts to pass the exam are now faced with the prospect of either abandoning their hopes entirely or pursuing different career paths which, in this economy, is not financially viable.
It is hoped that the Legal Profession Qualifying Board will review all feedback received and provide affected candidates with a fair and justified decision.
Confused Law Graduate