KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) today called for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to be recognised under the Federal Constitution after former PKR member Latheefa Koya was appointed as its new chief.
Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu said such a recognition would put the MACC on par with the Election Commission, and lend enhanced credibility to the body as well as mitigate against interference from the executive branch of the government in its operations.
“If implemented, this will also demonstrate the government’s commitment in battling graft and promoting good governance — ideals which we promote,” he said in a statement.
The head of the pro-governance NGO said the government should urgently start the ball rolling on constitutional amendments towards this end, in line with its aspirations to weeding out corruption and pushing for institutional reforms.
“This will help ensure the MACC is not constrained by budgetary or administrative issues or whims of political masters,” he said.
Gan noted the MACC had in the past suffered from a trust deficit, amid allegations of political interference, especially involving high-profile cases.
“Institutional reforms such as elevating the status of the MACC and a more stringent appointment process of its commissioners can help the body regain public trust,” he said.
Gan commended Latheefa for quitting PKR as an ordinary member to take up the post of MACC chief, recognising her track record as a vocal lawyer and a staunch human rights defender.
“This is indeed the right move to preserve the independence of the MACC. We also hope that her past political affiliation will not compromise her professionalism in battling corruption which is a major scourge in this country.
“We also hope that senior commissioners and the rank-and-file at MACC will carry on the good work Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull started and take the institution to greater heights,” he said.
Latheefa said she quit PKR yesterday when she was informed that she would be appointed as the new MACC chief commissioner, replacing Mohd Shukri ahead of the end of his contract next year.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Latheefa’s two-year appointment took effect June 1.