PETALING JAYA: The G25 group of former senior civil servants said today Latheefa Koya’s appointment to head the anti-corruption agency was “an exceptional circumstance” because corruption has reached critical proportions and the prime minister had to fill the post immediately.
The group noted that the appointment had followed the law, even though the appointment had not received parliamentary approval (an election promise made by Pakatan Harapan).
“Whilst we had wished for the emergence of the constitutional convention of parliamentary scrutiny in the appointment process, which sadly, did not happen, it cannot be denied that the appointment was strictly in accordance with the law,” it said in a statement.
Although Latheefa’s appointment was unconventional, a formal change in the law should be made so that “the rigour of parliamentary scrutiny” would be applied to future appointments.
“However, till then, the flexibility in adhering to constitutional conventions should not be denied,” G25 said in a statement.
‘Self-serving, manipulative and politically-motivated criticisms’
The group said criticisms of Latheefa’s appointment were “counter-productive”. The criticisms were “self-serving, manipulative and politically-motivated” and made by people “exploiting the on-going narrative of PH’s failed promises for their selfish, political advantage”.
Latheefa was named earlier this week as head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in succession to Mohd Shukri Abdull, who chose to end his contract a year early.
The prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, later said he did not consult his Cabinet colleagues when he proposed Latheefa’s appointment by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, but said he had acted in line with the provisions of the MACC Act.
Critics of the appointment have questioned why a parliamentary select committee had not been allowed to scrutinise the appointment, in line with Pakatan Harapan’s agenda.
However, G25 said corruption in Malaysia had reached critical proportions, traversing all levels of society, and the position had to be filled urgently. “We must support decisions that promote good governance and appropriate legal processes. After all, these are a means to an end,” G25 said.
Malaysians should see the bigger picture, where corruption, cronyism and nepotism must be tackled by a professional at the head of the commission. “It must be steered by a morally-upright and experienced individual at the helm, who will fearlessly, but fairly, enforce the rule of law, above everything else,” it said, adding that Latheefa embodied such traits.
The group urged the public to judge Latheefa by her deeds.