KOTA KINABALU, 19 February 2021: KOTA KINABALU: Lawyers throughout the country who have just completed their chambering are unable to practise their trade as the body responsible for issuing Certificate in Legal Practice is not doing so, a Sabah politician claims.
SAPP Supreme Council member Yong Yit Jee, who is also a lawyer, said many 2019 certificate in legal practice (CLP) graduates nationwide have been deprived of their right to livelihood because of this.
“The only reason they cannot become lawyers is because the Legal Profession Qualifying Board (LPQB) is not issuing the certificates which are overdue since 2019,” he said in a statement here today.
According to him, LPQB is not issuing the certificates because it is unable to hold convocations for these 2019 CLP graduates due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They cannot become lawyers in Malaysia and this is more difficult for those who have completed their chambering but are unable to be called to the respective Bars.”
Yong said the requirement of a certificate for a pupil in chambers was clear under the Sabah Advocates Ordinance, Sarawak Advocates Ordinance and the Legal Profession Act 1976.
“CLP graduates who have completed or almost completed their pupillage need this certificate for them to become lawyers. We are now in the second month of 2021.
“Why is LPQB so adamant on holding convocations when the issuance of certificates is their basic function and duty?” he asked.
Yong said that as a result of LPQB’s insistence, the Chief Justice (CJ) had to step in and save the day.
“The CJ has issued a practice direction recently that pupils applying for admission to Sabah Bar can use letters from LPQB certifying that they have passed the CLP exams instead of the certificate itself.
“I urge the LPQB to adapt to the new norm and exercise its administrative powers accordingly. Certificates may be issued without holding the convocations, or convocations may be held virtually as this is a matter of formality,” he said.
In the meantime, he also urged the body to include the Sabah Law Society (SLS) and Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) in the joint technical committee as observers for any existing or future reviewing applications by any new Malaysian university for recognition of its law degree.
Yong said LPQB’s recognition of law degrees provided by Malaysian universities also affects local pupils looking to be admitted to Sabah and Sarawak.
“Therefore, it is only fair that input from SLS and AAS are taken into account in the accreditation of law degrees provided by Malaysian universities,” he said.