Left in the dark, Parliament committee to discuss Latheefa’s MACC appointment with PMO

Latheefa clocks in at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya June 4, 2019. — Picture courtesy of the MACC
Latheefa clocks in at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission headquarters in Putrajaya June 4, 2019. — Picture courtesy of the MACC

KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The parliamentary special select committee on public appointments said today it was not consulted before former PKR member Latheefa Koya was appointed chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The committee’s head, Selayang MP William Leong from PKR, told Malay Mail that he would be calling an urgent meeting with members of the committee and would also be discussing Latheefa’s appointment with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“The committee was not consulted. The committee was not informed of this. We should have been informed and given a chance to go through the appointment.

“Yes, I am going to call for an urgent meeting of the committee first, and we will discuss this issue, and of course we will communicate this to the Prime Minister’s Office,” Leong said when contacted.

He also said the appointment of Latheefa, who was a PKR member, affected public trust and perception of the independence of the MACC, stressing that he was not referring to her personal capabilities or integrity.

“This perception will persist even if she had resigned as a member of PKR to take up the appointment,” said Leong.

“But I think more importantly is that the position of the MACC chief has to maintain public trust and independence,” he added.

Leong said that while he was not questioning Latheefa’s capability and integrity, public trust in MACC would still be affected.

He said that though Latheefa may have resigned from PKR, the senior lawyer cannot completely remove history, with regards to her political involvement and party affiliations.

Earlier on Twitter, Latheefa said that she had resigned from PKR yesterday, after criticism over her appointment from the Opposition, and her own party members.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil from PKR had reportedly said Latheefa should resign from their party because the MACC chief should be politically neutral.

“Thanks for the advice. But I have already sent in my resignation with immediate effect as an ordinary member of PKR yesterday, upon being told of my impending appointment as MACC chief,” Latheefa tweeted in response to Fahmi.

The human rights activist had previously served as an elected member of PKR’s central leadership council from 2003 to 2018.

Latheefa takes over the position from her predecessor, Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull.

Mohd Shukri’s contract was allowed to expire ahead of its deadline on May 17, 2020.

In a statement today, the PMO said Latheefa would serve as MACC chief for two years beginning June 1.

The statement stated that her appointment is among the steps towards reform in government institutions.

The PMO also said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong consented to Mohd Shukri’s request for early retirement as chief commissioner; changes to the position are by royal assent.