KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — In a critical assessment of his own coalition, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim suggested the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was far from reformed during the short stint Pakatan Harapan was in power.

Speaking to Sinar Harian, Anwar said the anti-graft body had failed to act on certain politicians aligned to the then government, despite complaints raised against their questionable wealth.

The three-party bloc’s prime minister designate mentioned no names in the exclusive video interview with the tabloid apart from that of Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, the former MACC chief commissioner, who now heads the government’s integrity unit.

Anwar claimed he had repeatedly told Abu Kassim about the need to be impartial when carrying out the PH administration’s anti-corruption reforms.


“When it comes to the MACC I have said so many times, in fact stressed this to Tan Sri Abu Kassim, reforming the MACC should not be just about pressing against leaders from the past government,” he said when asked to assess the strength of PH governance.

“If they are guilty then fine I won’t stop them but you must also give a clear message to existing PH leaders: You cannot tolerate any tendency for power abuse for personal gains. 

“But the person who was appointed (as chief commissioner) had shown weakness because these politicians who flaunt their exorbitant wealth or spend suspiciously were let off just like that.”


The criticism was ostensibly directed at former MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya. Before her appointment as head of the anti-graft busters, she was a PKR leader said to be aligned with the faction led by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

During Latheefa’s short tenure, Anwar often issued public statements urging the authorities to act against PH political leaders suspected of being corrupt.

His critics felt that this was driven more by the enmity between him and Azmin than by the pursuit of reform.

But Anwar has always maintained that he has been consistent about corruption, a point he reiterated today.

“The public may not know it but for us who talk about reform… we see this (MACC’s action under the new chief commissioner) as contradictory.”

Azmin, then PKR’s number two, has since left the party with nine other senior leaders in a move that caused one of the country’s worst political crises which subsequently ended Pakatan’s reign.

Anwar said Azmin’s defection was a result of a long-planned plot to usurp his place as the next prime minister.

Azmin, now a senior minister in the Perikatan Nasional administration, has denied the allegation.