PETALING JAYA: The Group of 25 Eminent Malays (G25) has backed the appointment of Latheefa Koya as head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), describing the matter as urgent, but called for immediate reforms for greater parliamentary scrutiny.
Admitting that the process of her appointment was unconventional, the group noted that it still followed constitutional conventions that gave the sitting Prime Minister such authority.
“Having said that, it is necessary to seek a formal change in the law in order to impose the rigour of parliamentary scrutiny.
“We in G25 have often stressed the importance of institutional governance, which includes parliamentary oversight on the executive branch of government.
“The soul of democracy lies in the process of verifying and validating the actions of our elected leaders, so that they may execute their powers in the best interests of the country.
“We therefore hope the Pakatan Harapan government will honour the promises listed in its election manifesto.
“These include the introduction of parliamentary oversight through its select committees, without further delay,” it said.
Latheefa’s appointment as MACC chief commissioner, announced on June 4, came as a surprise to many. She replaced Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, who quit before his tenure was to have ended in 2020.
The appointment has sparked controversy, with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitting he made the decision without consulting members of his Cabinet.
Despite Dr Mahathir later saying his decision was final, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Major Public Appointments still wants to meet the Prime Minister over the matter.
Committee chairman William Leong said this was because the issue concerns one of Pakatan’s promises in its manifesto for the 14th General Election in May last year.
The G25, however, lauded Latheefa’s appointment, saying that while it “was seen as a unilateral move on the part of the Prime Minister, the post needed to be filled immediately”.
The group said it was confident that the controversial appointment of Latheefa would prove to be an asset for all citizens of Malaysia.
“Malaysians have to envision the bigger picture. Corruption, cronyism and nepotism must be tackled by a commission that is professional.
“Corruption in our nation has reached critical proportions, traversing all levels of society.
“It must be steered by a morally-upright and experienced individual at the helm, who will fearlessly, but fairly, enforce the rule of law, above everything else.
“These qualities are embodied in Latheefa Koya. We should judge her by her deeds as chief commissioner of the MACC, irrespective of her previous political inclinations,” the G25 said in a statement Monday (June 10).
It added that the Pakatan government was still undergoing a transition period in which “there are often unrealistic expectations of Dr Mahathir and his Cabinet”.
“We must support decisions that promote good governance and appropriate legal processes. After all, these are a means to an end,” it said.