PERMATANG PAUH • Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad needs to clarify the appointment of Ms Latheefa Beebi Koya as chief of Malaysia's anti-graft agency, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim has said.
Datuk Seri Anwar on Thursday said the move to appoint Ms Latheefa as the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief was made by the Prime Minister, and that he had not heard about it until the announcement, national news agency Bernama reported.
Ms Latheefa, previously a prominent PKR politician, was appointed MACC chief commissioner effective last Saturday, replacing Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, who decided to leave after serving just one year of his two-year contract.
Tun Dr Mahathir said he decided to appoint Ms Latheefa without consulting the Cabinet.
In a statement yesterday, on her first full day as chief commissioner, Ms Latheefa said: "There have been many opinions since my appointment was announced the day before Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Anyone has the right to question, criticise or issue their opinions...
"My job is clear - that is to combat corruption wherever (it is). With the support and encouragement of the people and my officers at MACC, we will change Malaysia to a community allergic to corruption and free from corruption."
"It is the right of every Malaysian citizen to live, work and prosper in an environment free of corruption," she added, as quoted by news site Malaysiakini.
According to Mr Anwar - who is slated to succeed Dr Mahathir as prime minister - there is a need to explain why the Cabinet was not informed of the appointment, and whether the appointment contravened the MACC Act and Pakatan Harapan's election manifesto.
The ruling coalition had pledged to do away with putting political appointees in key posts, which was a common practice under the former Barisan Nasional government.
"Of course, clarification is required, as this is what we promised, but we should only use proper forums such as the Cabinet or the Pakatan leadership council if we want to raise and seek proper clarification," Mr Anwar said.
"Nonetheless, our duty is to ensure the effectiveness in the administration of the government, as we have given the commitment to support the government administration under the leadership of Tun Dr Mahathir."
A lawyer by profession, Ms Latheefa, 46, is an activist who has served as PKR's central committee member. She quit PKR on Monday. Mr Anwar said her resignation has been accepted by the party and should not be an issue.
Ms Latheefa had in the past accused Mr Anwar and his family of nepotism and cronyism, and currently supports a rival faction within PKR which is led by its deputy president Azmin Ali.
Her appointment has sparked speculation that Mr Anwar's plans to take over as prime minister may not have a smooth run.