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

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he appointed former politician Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner without consulting the Cabinet.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he appointed former politician Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner without consulting the Cabinet.PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said Wednesday (June 5) that he made the decision to appoint former politician Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 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 that 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.

 
 

She replaces Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull, who had quit even before his tenure was to have ended in 2020.

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

Although she has quit PKR - which is a member of the 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 (BN) 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.