PUTRAJAYA, June 7 — Those who questioned Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s appointment of the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief should realise that the post of prime minister comes with certain privileges, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.
Mohamed Hanipa said Dr Mahathir is aware that he is leading a New Malaysia under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and he believed that the prime minister would not abuse the privileges accorded him.
“Therefore, to be fair to Dr Mahathir, all quarters should realise that the post of prime minister comes with certain privileges which other posts may not have.
“Yes, for sure we all do not want to see the prime minister ‘abusing’ these privileges, and I also do not see how it can be ‘abused’,” he said in a statement today.
He said the PH government had shown that it could act responsibly in many cases, including on appointments to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Therefore, Mohamed Hanipa believed that Dr Mahathir, his Cabinet and the PH top leadership could resolve the controversy over the appointment of Latheefa Beebi Koya as the MACC chief commissioner in a wise and proper way.
Mohamed Hanipa said he had received many messages and complaints from various parties on Latheefa’s appointment and that in principle most of them did not question the qualifications or integrity of Latheefa to hold this important post.
“The complaints I received mostly centred on the issue of the appointment process. Among the issues were allegations on lack of transparency and consultation, violation of a written pledge in the PH Manifesto, non-discussion of the matter in the Cabinet and/or PH Presidential Council, and concerns over ‘lack of impartiality’ on the part of Latheefa in view of her background,” he said.
Mohamed Hanipa said bodies like the Bar Council and Bersih 2.0 had issued statements critical of Latheefa’s appointment and he could see some strong merit in their arguments.
“Some parties also felt that in view of Latheefa’s background as a human rights lawyer, the post of Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chief commissioner would be more suitable and appropriate for her than that in MACC,” he said.
As an administration sensitive to the soul and principle of democracy and sovereignty of the law, the government under Dr Mahathir would not view such “voices” lightly, he said.
He said this new government would also take the pledges in its election manifesto seriously.
Latheefa was appointed as the MACC chief commissioner effective June 1, replacing Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, who decided to shorten his service contract. — Bernama