Speaker: Latheefa's appointment a done deal but PSC can still call her up


PETALING JAYA: While the appointment of Latheefa Koya (pic) as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief is a "done deal", the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Major Public Appointments can still call her to appear before it, says Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.

"The committee, if they want to, can call Latheefa for an appointment or briefing as it is within their power to do so.

"However, they cannot disagree with the appointment as it is a done deal," he said at Parliament lobby after attending a briefing by Parliamentarians For Global Action on the protection of the ocean here Tuesday (June 11).

Mohamad Ariff said he would not be involved in the PSC and it was up to the committee to set the agenda for their coming meeting.

He was asked to comment on PSC chairman William Leong's statement on Tuesday (June 11) that the committee would convene a meeting to discuss Latheefa's appointment on Thursday (June 13).

Leong acknowledged that the PSC had no power to appoint or reject a candidate but merely served as a check-and-balance mechanism to ensure appointments to key government posts were merit-based.

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

Asked if there should be amendments to the Federal Constitution or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACCA) to give the PSC more powers to decide on appointments, Mohamad Arrif said this was not necessary.

"Under the MACC law, it is clear the power to appoint the commissioner lies with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister.

"There is no need to raise issues of amending this and that. That is the law, and we have to work within the law," he added.

Mohamad Ariff also noted that the MACC law already has its own check and balance to oversee the MACC in the form of two special committees whose members include MPs and senators.

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 PKR member and executive director of Lawyers for Liberty.

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

On Saturday (June 8), Dr Mahathir said his decision to appoint Latheefa was final following questions raised by some quarters over the manner of her appointment.

On Tuesday, Dr Mahathir said that until the PSC was legally functioning, government appointments would ultimately be decided by the Prime Minister.

The premier said changes to the Federal Constitution were required before the PSC could function properly.

However, Dr Mahathir said that the government currently did not have a two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend the constitution for the purpose.