Latheefa’s MACC appointment gets parliamentary committee nod

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By BERNAMA

THE appointment of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya (picture) has won the approval of the parliamentary select committee on major public appointments, who will table a report on the matter in the Dewan Rakyat soon.

Latheefa, whose appointment by Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad last month had caused a stir, was called to a hearing before the bipartisan committee yesterday.

The committee’s chairman William Leong Jee Keen, who is also Selayang MP, said sufficient information has been given on the manner of Latheefa’s appointment during the hour-long meeting. He said the seven-member committee is “satisfied” with the details provided.

Leong said the committee intended to get input from Latheefa on several issues concerning her appointment, particularly on her role as an active politician when she was appointed.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Latheefa said she was grilled with several questions on her appointment by the special committee and had given her full cooperation.

“The report from this meeting will be presented in Parliament for the benefit of other MPs,” she said.

Latheefa replaced Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull whose contract was allowed to expire ahead of its deadline on May 17, 2020.

Leong said the committee was also in the middle of constructing a mechanism for key appointments in the future, including the position of MACC chief.

Dr Mahathir had previously said his decision to appoint Latheefa was made without any consultation with the Cabinet.

He explained that Latheefa was appointed to lead the anti-graft body because of her “strong character”, noting that she does not mince her words when it comes to the truth.

Despite the public criticism, the 93-year-old leader maintained that he had acted accordingly in line with Section 5(1) of the MACC Act 2009 — which states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is to appoint the chief commissioner on the advice of the PM.

The select committee has since implied its commitment to change the Act that would allow the transfer of power to appoint the MACC chief commissioner to Parliament instead of the PM.

Minister in the PM’s Department for law Datuk Liew Vui Keong, had earlier told the Dewan Rakyat that the committee is actively seeking feedback from various stakeholders including the speaker and PM to refine the selection mechanism for the principle appointment at MACC.

He said this in response to a question by Wong Chen (PH-Subang) who had asked for the government’s stance on the transfer of power to appoint the chief commissioner of MACC to Parliament in line with the manifesto of Pakatan Harapan (PH).

The ruling coalition, in its pledge to restore the dignity of Parliament, said in its election manifesto that major positions such as appointments to the Human Rights Commission, Election Commission of Malaysia, MACC and the Judicial Appointment Commissions must be approved by a parliamentary committee.