KUALA LUMPUR: While there are “strong merits” to the criticism against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s unilateral appointment of Latheefa Koya as the new MACC chief commissioner, critics should realise that the premiership comes with certain privileges, says Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Hanipa Maidin (pic).
Nonetheless, the de facto deputy law minister said he did not see how the prime minister could misuse these privileges when Dr Mahathir and his government were “sensitive to the spirit and principles of democracy and the rule of law”.
“I’m sure the prime minister realises that he leads New Malaysia under Pakatan Harapan, and not under the old Barisan Nasional order,” Hanipa said in a statement.
As such, he said the government would seek to address and resolve the controversy.
According to Hanipa, most of the complaints he received over the shock appointment of Latheefa did not question her qualifications or ability.
Instead, he said, many were critical of the manner and process in which the appointment took place.
Among which, Hanipa said, were the alleged absence of transparency and proper prior consultation; the alleged contradiction to Pakatan Harapan’s GE14 manifesto; the lack of discussion within the Cabinet and Pakatan presidential council, as well as concerns over Latheefa’s potential “lack of impartiality” given her political background.“I believe the majority of the people can agree with the reason given by the prime minister as to why he selected Latheefa as the candidate to replace the previous MACC chief, who chose to leave before the end of his term.
“Several parties, such as the Malaysian Bar and Bersih 2.0, have also issued official statements, which can be said to be critical of the appointment.
“Honestly, I see that there are strong merits to their reasoning,” Hanipa said.
Even so, the Sepang MP added that the Pakatan government would not simply dismiss these criticisms nor ignore its election promises.
“To be fair to the prime minister, the relevant parties should realise that the post of prime minister comes with certain privileges
that are not possible with other posts.
“Yes, of course, we all do not want the PM to misuse these special rights and I, too, do not see how they can be misused.
“As such, I am sure, and I believe that the PM, Cabinet members and the highest Pakatan leadership will resolve this turmoil prudently,” Hanipa said.
Controversy arose when, in a sudden announcement on Tuesday, Putrajaya stated that Latheefa had been chosen to replace former MACC head Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, who had opted to vacate his position almost a year before his contract was to expire.