Putrajaya — In the wake of the controversy surrounding the appointment of the new head of Malaysia’s Anti-Corruption (MACC), Prime Minister Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad made clear yesterday that as long it is not within Parliament’s purview to decide on government appointments, he will be the one making the final choices.
At his office after chairing the Economic Action Council meeting on June 11, Tuesday, the Malaysian Prime Minister explained that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Major Appointments cannot function in this way until the Federal Constitution is subject to amendments.
“We intend to have the PSC, but to do that, we need to change some provisions in the Constitution. And to do that, we need a two-thirds majority; the government currently does not have a two-thirds majority.
So at the moment, we go with the old way of making appointments, that is, ‘the Prime Minister decides’.”
Many questioned the appointment of Latheefa Beebi Koya, not because of her lack of credentials for the position, but due to the fact that the Prime Minister seemed to have arrived at the decision to hire her unilaterally, without consulting either Cabinet or Parliament.
This, as deemed by some, was a violation of the manifesto the ruling coalition Pakistan Harapan (PH) drew up and pledged to follow during the campaign for the 14th General Election last year. PH said that it would ensure that major appointments would pass through Parliament before confirmation.
However, Ms Latheefa’s appointment was not the first to be carried out in this manner. In the past, Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, the Inspector-General of Police, was also appointed this way.
But Dr Mahathir made his position clear, saying, “I am not required to consult the Cabinet. I can ask for opinions from various people and then I will decide based on the merits of the case.”
The Prime Ministers Office announced Ms Latheefa’s appointment as the head of MACC last week. The human rights lawyer, who was the executive director of Lawyers for Liberty, resigned from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in order to take up her new post.
Ms Latheefa’s predecessor, Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, had chosen to step down even before his term ends in 2020. Mr Mohd Shukri had also been a Mahathir appointee, assuming the post as MACC chair after PH won the elections in May of 2018.
Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohd Ariff Md Yusof said on June 11 that the appointment of the new MACC head is under the MACC Act, which states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint the MACC head on the advice of the prime minister.
“They can’t say they disagree (with Latheefa’s appointment) because the appointment has been made. It’s a done deal,” he told members of the Malaysian press.
“The PSC (Parliamentary Select Committee on Major Public Appointments) is just a general committee which oversees whether the person is right and proper for the job. It is not to validate.”/ TISG