Latheefa’s appointment stays


ALOR SETAR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the appointment of Latheefa Koya as the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner is final.

The Prime Minister said he is standing his ground on the matter, which had drawn differing views over the past few days, to avoid being criticised for making “a U-turn”.

Attending a Hari Raya event here yesterday, he was asked to comment on PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for him to clarify Latheefa’s appointment, including why the Cabinet was not informed prior to the announcement.

On Friday, Anwar said the decision to appoint Latheefa was not in line with the MACC Act and also violated the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto, noting that he only learnt about it from the announcement.

Many parties, including the Malaysian Bar and Bersih 2.0, questioned the process of the appointment, saying that it did not go through a Parliamentary Select Committee as promised in Pakatan’s manifesto for GE14.

“What clarification? I have appointed many people and officers and she is one of them,” Dr Mahathir told reporters at the Hari Raya open house of his son and Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.

On whether there might be any last-minute changes, the Prime Minister said: “It is final and will not change. I don’t want to be criticised again for taking a U-turn.”

On his relationship with Anwar following the issue, Dr Mahathir said: “Our relationship is good, I do not have any problem with him. He has the right to raise the question and I have my right to answer.”

Latheefa’s shock appointment, announced on the eve of Hari Raya, sparked a heated debate among many people, politicians and NGOs.

Asked about it at the Raya open house at Seri Perdana in Putrajaya the next day, Dr Mahathir said it was his personal decision to appoint Latheefa and that he did not consult the Cabinet.

He also said that he “listened to many people” before making his decision.

Latheefa replaced Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, who quit before his two-year tenure was up. She then resigned as a PKR member and the executive director of Lawyers for Liberty, which she co-founded.

At yesterday’s event, droves of people swarmed the Mentri Besar’s residence at Seri Mentaloon in Anak Bukit to exchange Raya greetings with Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.

Mukhriz, his wife Tok Puan Norzieta Zakaria and their children were seen greeting the huge crowd and giving duit raya to children during the four-hour event which started at 11am.