Latheefa’s appointment constitutionally right, politically wrong, says Kit Siang

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

PETALING JAYA: Latheefa Koya’s appointment as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is constitutionally right but politically wrong, says DAP’s Lim Kit Siang.

In a statement, the Iskandar Puteri MP said her appointment is the sole prerogative of the PM and this was constitutional under the present legal arrangement.

The only contention with her appointment, he said, was that it was not in line with Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto promise No 14 that the appointment of the MACC chief must be validated democratically by Parliament.

This promise also states that MACC would be recognised in the Federal Constitution, that it will report directly to Parliament and that the number of MACC commissioners will be increased, among others.

“Those who protested that Latheefa’s appointment as MACC chief violated the spirit of the pledge in PH Manifesto Promise 14 are not wrong.

“I am sure that if Latheefa had not been the person involved in this present controversy, she would also be in the very forefront of the ruckus criticising any appointment of the MACC chief in a similar fashion as her present appointment.”

He said by the same logic, the appointment of Latheefa’s predecessor, Mohd Shukri Abdull, on May 18, 2018 would have also violated the manifesto’s promise.

However, he said the constitutional amendments needed to implement PH’s manifesto promise have not been put in place.

This, he said, had created a situation where the PM is “constitutionally correct but politically wrong” to exercise his sole prerogative to appoint Latheefa as MACC chief.

The DAP supremo said passing constitutional amendments were not easy and questioned whether the parliamentary opposition leader and opposition parties would support PH’s efforts to implement promise No 14.

Lim added there were lessons to be learned from this episode, including the importance of constantly building trust among Pakatan Harapan leaders and the need for PH leaders to reaffirm commitment to the PH Manifesto as the road map to a “New Malaysia”.

“We want the New Malaysia vision of Pakatan Harapan to succeed, which means we want Latheefa Koya to succeed in making Malaysia a corruption-free Malaysia.”

Latheefa’s appointment earlier this week has led to much debate, even within Pakatan Harapan, with a number of leaders, including those from PKR and DAP, saying her appointment should have gone through the Parliamentary Select Committee on Public Appointments.