No need to amend MACC Act on appointment of chief, says speaker

Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohd Ariff Md Yusof.

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohd Ariff Md Yusof today dismissed the suggestion that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 be amended to improve the procedure for the appointment of the MACC chief.

He added that no further discussions are needed on the issue as the authorities can work within the existing law to appoint the chief commissioner.

He was commenting on a proposal by deputy speaker Nga Kor Ming, who said yesterday that Section 5(1) of the MACC Act should be amended at the next Dewan Rakyat meeting.

Nga said the section in question gives the prime minister the power to appoint any individual as head of the enforcement body.

He suggested that the amendment include a clause stipulating that before an appointment is made, the individual must be referred to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Major Public Appointments.

The matter arose following Latheefa Koya’s controversial appointment as MACC chief. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad later said he had unilaterally appointed Latheefa to the position without consulting the Cabinet.

Political leaders and activists questioned the move, saying Pakatan Harapan had breached its election promise that major appointments to public office would be scrutinised by a select committee before being finalised.

But Ariff said Latheefa’s appointment is governed by the MACC Act, which states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint the MACC head on the advice of the prime minister.

“They (the PSC) can’t say they disagree (with Latheefa’s appointment) because the appointment has been made. It’s a done deal,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a briefing for MPs and senators by Parliamentarians for Global Action.

“The PSC is just a general committee which oversees whether the person is right and proper for the job. It is not to validate,” he added.

On the PSC’s meeting this Thursday to discuss Latheefa’s appointment, Ariff said he would not interfere.

He added that he does not know what will be discussed at the meeting.

“I cannot presume if this will be on the agenda, or on other agendas.”