KUALA LUMPUR, Jun 10 — DAP leader Lim Kit Siang today blamed the lack of constitutional amendments to require parliamentary approval for the appointment of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner.
The Gelang Patah MP pointed out that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government failed last April to get bipartisan support to amend the Federal Constitution on the status of Sabah and Sarawak.
“Will the Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Opposition parties support Constitutional amendments to implement Promise 14 of the PH Manifesto?” Lim said in a statement, referring to PH’s pledge in its Election 2018 manifesto on improving MACC’s independence.
“Constitutional arrangements to implement Promise 14 of the PH manifesto have not been put in place, creating the invidious situation where the prime minister is constitutionally correct but politically wrong to exercise his sole prerogative to appoint Latheefa Koya as MACC chief.”
Promise 14 of the PH manifesto pledges to upgrade the MACC to a commission that is recognised in our Federal Constitution, similar to the status of the Election Commission of Malaysia”.
It states that the MACC will report directly to Parliament rather than to the prime minister, the number of MACC commissioners will be increased, one of whom will be the chair of MACC, and all appointment of these commissioners must be validated democratically by Parliament.
Latheefa was a former member of PKR and had resigned once she knew she was going to be the new MACC chief commissioner.
She was appointed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a day before Hari Raya; her appointment did not go through the parliamentary select committee on public appointments.
This created an outcry from the Opposition and allies who accused Dr Mahathir of being a dictator.
Lim said those protesting Latheefa’s appointment had legitimate grouses, but urged PH’s leaders to build trust amongst themselves and reaffirm their commitment to the coalition’s election manifesto.
“Those who protested that Latheefa’s appointment as MACC Chief violated the spirit of the pledge in PH manifesto are not wrong, and I am sure that if Latheefa had not been the person involved in the present controversy, she would be in the very forefront of the ruckus criticising any appointment of MACC Chief in a similar fashion as her present appointment,” said the MP for Iskandar Puteri.
“The PH government must be able to achieve greater headway in the goal to build a new Malaysia as outlined in the PH manifesto in the second year as compared to the first year which had largely been spent to establish the extent and magnitude of the heinous political, economic and financial scandals left behind by the former regime.”
Lim said the greatest test for Latheefa is whether she can ensure that with MACC under her leadership, she will be able to bring perpetrators to justice in the war against corruption.
“We want a new Malaysia vision of PH to succeed, which means we want Latheefa Koya to succeed in making Malaysia a corruption-free Malaysia,” added Lim.