No select committee so I appoint who I want, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has again defended his recent unilateral appointment of Latheefa Koya to head the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), saying it was because the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Major Public Appointments tasked with approving such appointments is unable to function legally.

He said as such, the ultimate decision rests with him.

“Others can give views, but the prime minister decides,” he told reporters here today.

Mahathir said the select committee can only function once the constitution is amended.

“We don’t have a PSC. We intend to have a PSC, but to do that, we need to change some provisions in the Federal Constitution,” he said, adding that the government needs two-thirds support in the Dewan Rakyat to make the changes.

He was responding to a question on whether the top position in the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) will go through the select committee.

Mahathir today reiterated that he does not need to consult the Cabinet in making major appointments.

“I am not required to consult the Cabinet. I can ask for the opinions of various people, and then I decide on the merits of the case,” he added.

The move to appoint Latheefa drew mixed reactions from political leaders and activists, with many questioning the process bypassing the bi-partisan select committee.

The committee’s mandate is to scrutinise the appointment of public officials. It comprises six other MPs – Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh, Ngeh Koo Ham, Fong Kui Lun, Dr Hasan Bahrom, Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

It is set to meet this Thursday over the appointment of Latheefa as the MACC chief commissioner.