Malaysians are shocked and sorely divided on the appointment of PKR member Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner. She has taunted party leader Anwar Ibrahim more than once on his political decisions as the new graft chief.
Latheefa, along with N. Surendran and R. Sivarasa (all PKR leaders) have all represented Anwar in at least one sodomy case. But lately, the new MACC chief commissioner has become a voice against Anwar.
Pressed to make a stand on the appointment and facing heavy criticism, PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad came out on Wednesday to state he decided to appoint Latheefa on his own and he was under no obligation to inform the Cabinet and Parliamentary Committee of his decision.
After Dr Mahathir’s clear remarks that he is the man in power and that others should follow his lead, many of those gravitating around the Pakatan Harapan power circle were shocked.
But the most scathing statement comes from Bersih 2.0. The movement that led massive demonstrations against the Najib Razak regime criticising his abuse of power said the appointment highlights structural weaknesses in Malaysia’s governance which makes future abuses of power inevitable.
The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections says though Latheefa was an excellent choice, it was nevertheless troubled by the process of her appointment as Dr Mahathir made the decision solely by himself.
Admitting the current laws allow the PM to advise the King to appoint whoever he wants, “such almost absolute power in the hands of the PM does not bode well for our parliamentary democracy system of government” said Bersih 2.0.
Anwar Ibrahim the PM in waiting appealed to party and Pakatan members and supporters to give Dr Mahathir time to explain his decision to the leadership council.
He said he supported the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint Latheefa and believed that one should not conform to any conclusion before listening to Dr Mahathir’s explanation on the matter.
He said a clarification was necessary because without it, Dr Mahathir’s admission that Latheefa has been appointed without consulting the government would be perceived as reneging the commitment made in the PH manifesto.
But Dr Mahathir has again put his foot down on the matter of conflict of interest saying Latheefa and many others in Pakatan deserve a post since they fought for years to overthrow the Barisan Nasional regime.
The PM also says the appointment goes against the PH own blue print but it was unfair to include the ban on political appointments in the 2018 manifesto.
Dr Mahathir’s stance could also be seen as an attempt to fend-off mounting pressure on the PH to set a date for his departure which would create more tension within the ruling coalition.