Latheefa as MACC chief was my call, says Dr M

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks at the Raya open house at Seri Perdana in Putrajaya today.

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said it was his decision to make Latheefa Koya Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief, after several of his ministers said they were in the dark over her appointment.

“She doesn’t mince words. We need someone who has a strong character.

“I didn’t discuss it with the Cabinet as I don’t have to ask the Cabinet about who I approve,” he said in a press conference at his Raya open house in Seri Perdana here.

He said he would normally listen to all sides before making a decision.

“You have to listen to everybody and then make your assessment and approve whoever it is that you want to approve. I have been doing this for a long time.”

He said he had not discussed the matter with his Cabinet to avoid being tied down to their decision.

“I did not ask all the Cabinet. I asked others who had knowledge of the characters of the candidates.

“The Cabinet does not need to make the decision,” he said, adding that this way, he is free to appoint the right candidate.

Asked if this goes against the Pakatan Harapan manifesto to make MACC free and independent, he said it was not a conflict of interest as Latheefa had resigned from PKR.

“We cannot penalise our members,” he added. “When we were trying to win the election, these people all worked very hard to help us win.”

According to the manifesto, he said, such people would not be appointed as heads of departments. However, he said they could become members of the board.

“In certain cases, if they have the right quality, we will appoint even those in politics,” he added.

Asked why he had not appointed someone from MACC itself, he said it was not a monopoly.

“We don’t always appoint people who are only number two or three. We have the right to approve anybody whom we think fit.”

He also said that former MACC chief Mohd Shukri Abdull had voluntarily resigned.

“He had been asking me since last year to let him step down. I took time to find his replacement.”

Mahathir said he had taken Latheefa’s character into account when making his decision.

As the new MACC chief, he said, he wants Latheefa to investigate and report any cases that are against the law.