Restoring public confidence

PUTRAJAYA: Political appointments within the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) have caused people to doubt the independence of the anti-graft body, says former Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif.

“Events in the last four years have somewhat cast doubt on the independence and impartiality of MACC.

“The appointment of a politician as the chief commissioner of the MACC had led to widespread perception that whatever actions taken or done during that period were politically motivated.

“Not surprisingly, there were widespread allegations of selective investigations and prosecutions.

“There were also allegations of improper withdrawal of charges. Issues on the integrity of a few MACC officers also started to surface,” said Md Raus at the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Forum (MACF) here yesterday.

Although Md Raus did not give any name, it is likely that he was referring to lawyer Latheefa Koya, who headed the MACC between June 1, 2019, and March 6, 2020.

Latheefa was an active PKR member before her appointment.

The MACC, said Md Raus, now had a difficult task to restore public confidence.

“Now, the MACC chief commissioner is someone appointed from the organisation itself. He has a big task on his plate and it cannot be done overnight.

“I implore all of you present today to work together, contribute your expertise and lend your hand to MACC ... make MACC great again,” he added.

The ex-judge said that as an independent body like the judiciary, the MACC must always be open to constructive criticism.

“In my last speech before retiring as the Chief Justice in 2018, I said that judges are not infallible and must be open to criticism.

“I also said that harsh and unwarranted criticism threatens the foundation of the rule of law and weakens the judiciary in the performance of its constitutional duties.

“It is important that the right to comment on or criticise the court judgments should be responsibly exercised.”

“The same applies to the MACC. Comments criticising the MACC must be responsibly exercised. Harsh and unwarranted remarks weaken the MACC in the performance of its statutory duty,” he added.

Md Raus was Chief Justice from April 1, 2017 to July 10, 2018.

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