Malaysia's anti-graft chief: Focus on my work, not uniform

Responding to an Umno leader's comment on the "many stars and medals" on her uniform, Ms Latheefa Koya said they are not medals but bar ribbons and "rank badges" she must wear as chief commissioner. PHOTO: MACC TUBE
Responding to an Umno leader's comment on the "many stars and medals" on her uniform, Ms Latheefa Koya said they are not medals but bar ribbons and "rank badges" she must wear as chief commissioner. PHOTO: MACC TUBE

KUALA LUMPUR • An Umno leader has ribbed anti-graft chief Latheefa Koya on why she has so "many stars and medals" on her uniform when she joined the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) only less than a month ago.

Umno's supreme council member Lokman Adam asked on his Facebook account: "It is curious... how is it that having worked for only a month there can be so many stars and medals on her uniform... Were they bought on Lazada?"

"I would like to ask Lat (Latheefa) where she bought the many stars," he asked.

Ms Latheefa replied that what she had worn with her MACC uniform were not medals but bar ribbons, and these come with her post as the agency's chief commissioner.

She said that when donning the dark blue uniform, she must add the bar ribbons as mandated by the Standing Order of the MACC chief commissioner, Chapter A (Policy) No. 1 of 2012.

"(It) directs that a chief commissioner by virtue of his/her position is to wear a certain number of bar ribbons," she said in a statement yesterday.

"Although essentially correct and acceptable, there were some minor discrepancies in the bar ribbons which have since been rectified.

 
 
 
 

"The other details on my uniform are the 'rank badges' which I must wear as chief commissioner, and based upon the standing order."

She then shot back at Datuk Lokman, a close associate of former premier Najib Razak, saying that her work to fight corruption is more important than details of her uniform.

Najib is facing a slew of corruption charges linked to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He was the finance minister, with 1MDB a unit under the ministry, when billions of ringgit in funds were allegedly siphoned off.

The United States Department of Justice has said US$4.5 billion (S$6.1 billion) was misappropriated from 1MDB by top officials and their associates, and this was used to buy luxury homes, paintings and a mega-yacht, among other things.

Mr Lokman was strategic communications director of the Finance Ministry under Najib.

"I thank those who have commented for the great interest they have shown in my uniform," said Ms Latheefa.

"I frankly admit I am only now learning about rank badges, bar ribbons and uniforms.

"My immediate priority since taking office has been about several grave corruption cases, and not the details of my uniform."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 30, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysia's anti-graft chief: Focus on my work, not uniform'. Print Edition | Subscribe