Sabah Opposition leaders say will back bid to put MACC under Parliament’s oversight

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang had yesterday blamed the controversial appointment of MACC chief Latheefa Koya by the prime minister on the lack of constitutional amendments to require parliamentary approval. — Picture by Hari Anggara
DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang had yesterday blamed the controversial appointment of MACC chief Latheefa Koya by the prime minister on the lack of constitutional amendments to require parliamentary approval. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KOTA KINABALU, June 11 — Sabah Opposition leaders have said they would be willing support any proposed law amendments that would make the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) more autonomous and answerable to the Parliament.

Speaking to Malay Mail, they denied any connection between the failed constitutional amendments on the status of Sabah and Sarawak, and the current controversy on the appointment of the graftbuster body’s chief commissioner.

The leaders polled agreed that in principle, such an amendment was laudable and put more accountability to the commission to be objective in their work.

“Yes, I would support a constitutional amendment to give MACC autonomy and answerable to Parliament,” said Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku president Datuk Jeffrey Kitingan.

The Keningau MP said he wanted an independent MACC that can act without fear or favour, but at the same time, said that the prime minister is entitled to propose his recommendations for approval.

“The PM should have the prerogative to name or recommend names to Parliament... but still has to be approved,” he said.

Sabah Umno chairman Datuk Bung Moktar Radin also said he would support such an amendment in Parliament.

“100 per cent support because the PH government made the promise in their manifesto and after PH won they make promises again.

“We can see during their campaigning that they want to transform Parliament, but now they broke their promise. So I agree and support an amendment to make MACC answerable to parliament,” he said in a text message to Malay Mail.

They were asked whether they would support a constitutional amendment that would allowed the PH government to fulfill their election promise of “upgrading” the MACC to a similar to the status of the Election Commission where they will report directly to Parliament rather than to the prime minister, and also to have a Parliament-validated commissioner.

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang had yesterday blamed the controversial appointment of MACC chief Latheefa Koya by the prime minister on the lack of constitutional amendments to require parliamentary approval.

He said the lack of constitutional requirement created the invidious situation where the Prime Minister is “constitutionally correct but politically wrong” to exercise his sole prerogative to appoint Latheefa, a former PKR member as MACC chief.

The Gelang Patah MP then pointed out that the government failed last April to get bipartisan support to amend the Federal Constitution on the status of Sabah and Sarawak, and asked if the Opposition parties would support an amendment to implement promise 14 of the PH manifesto.

Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Maximus Ongkili did not want to commit to supporting such an amendment, instead adopting a “wait and see” approach, and that they would also discuss it with their Sarawakian counterparts.

“Table it first, and we will take it up from there. We need time to study and for PBS, we must always first talk with our Sarawak counterparts,” he said.

He also reminded the PH government to first fulfill their manifesto promise to submit to the select committee, and to make the process more transparent.

“PH’s immediate task is to fulfill their manifesto and promise when they say no politician be appointed as heads of units/departments.

“For now the structure is not very clear yet, if PH is using the US Government system, then it will undergo a very thorough process as potential candidates must be screened and interviewed, otherwise refer to the select committee,” he said.

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