Parliamentary committee: We monitor but can't interfere with govt appointments

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 11 Jun 2019

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14 KUALA LUMPUR- Dewan Rakyat sitting at 1000 (0200 GMT)

PETALING JAYA: The Select Committee on Major Public Appointments is adamant on meeting with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad despite the PM saying the decision behind Latheefa Koya's appointment as the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief was final.

"I, on behalf of the committee and Dewan Rakyat Speaker, have requested a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the best way to move forward with regard to the executive (government) practices on appointments and the role of Parliament in monitoring the matter.

"I am waiting for an answer shortly," said committee chairman William Leong in a statement on Tuesday (June 11).

He said he met with Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof on Monday (June 10) to discuss the issue and that the committee would to discuss the matter further on Thursday (June 13).

While acknowledging that Parliament could not interfere with government appointments, Leong said the legislative body served as a check-and-balance to prevent government abuses.

"Under the concept of the separation of powers, Parliament cannot interfere with the executive on appointments.

"However, as one of the three branches of a democratic government, Parliament is responsible as a check-and-balance to monitor the executive to prevent abuse of power," he said.

He noted the bi-partisan committee had previously evaluated and discussed the recent appointments of the Chief Justice, Inspector-General of Police and the Malaysian Human Rights Commissioner.

While the committee had no powers to appoint or reject a candidate, Leong said the committee can ensure that such appointments were merit-based.

"Evaluation by the committee will help validate and instil public confidence in the candidate and that public appointments are based on merit and done with a free mind," he added.

He also said the setting up of the committee was in line with the Pakatan Harapan's promise to return dignity with regard to key government appointments.

On Saturday (June 8), Dr Mahathir said decision to appoint Latheefa was final.

The Prime Minister was asked to comment on PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's statement that the Premier needed to clarify the appointment of Latheefa as the new MACC head at the proper forums.

On Friday (June 7), Anwar said Latheefa's appointment was made by the Prime Minister and that he had only learnt about it from the announcement.

Latheefa's appointment, 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.

Upon being appointed, she resigned as a PKR member and the executive director of Lawyers for Liberty.

Dr Mahathir had said it was his personal decision to appoint Latheefa to the post and that he did not consult Cabinet on the matter.

He also said that he had "listened to many people" before making his decision.
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