Mahathir on new anti-graft chief's appointment: It was my decision

Former politician Latheefa Koya's appointment, announced on Tuesday, came as a surprise to many.
Former politician Latheefa Koya's appointment, announced on Tuesday, came as a surprise to many.

PUTRAJAYA • Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said he made the decision to appoint former politician Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner without consulting the Cabinet.

"I didn't discuss with the Cabinet. Normally I make the decision myself because I don't have to ask the Cabinet as to who I approve," news portal Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.

Instead, Tun Dr Mahathir said he asked "others", whom he did not identify, about Ms Latheefa.

"I ask others who have knowledge about this person's character. No need for the Cabinet to make the decision. If Cabinet decides, it binds me. So with this, I am free to assess whoever is proposed and I choose," Malay Mail news portal quoted him as saying.

The Premier also said he admired Ms Latheefa's character.

"She is very straight. She says what is the truth. She doesn't mince her words. So we need somebody who is a strong character," he said.

Ms Latheefa's appointment, announced on Tuesday, came as a surprise to many.

NO NEED TO CONSULT CABINET

I didn't discuss with the Cabinet. Normally I make the decision myself because I don't have to ask the Cabinet as to who I approve.

MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER MAHATHIR MOHAMAD, on his decision to appoint a new anti-corruption chief commissioner.

 

She replaces Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull, who had quit even before his tenure was to have ended next year.

A lawyer by profession, Ms Latheefa, 46, is an activist who has served as a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) central committee member. She represented several PKR leaders in court.

Although she has quit PKR - a member of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that governs Malaysia - many social media comments pointed out the government's promise to do away with political appointees, which had been a common practice during the previous Barisan Nasional government.

There are also people who questioned the manner in which her appointment was done and why it did not go through the parliamentary select committee, as stated in PH's election manifesto.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2019, with the headline 'Mahathir on new anti-graft chief's appointment: It was my decision'. Print Edition | Subscribe