Select committee to vet key govt posts including in MACC, says Dr M

PUTRAJAYA: Appointments to four key government posts including for the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will now go through a select committee, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

Apart from MACC, the other positions are for the Election Commission, the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) and the judiciary.

“The government has agreed in principle that the select committee will look at candidates who are fit and proper for the positions,” the prime minister told reporters after after chairing a special cabinet committee meeting on anti-corruption at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Prior to this, Mahathir was criticised over his choice of Latheefa Koya to head MACC without consulting the select committee.

Mahathir today said Latheefa’s appointment was according to the procedures available.

Meanwhile, he said Putrajaya has agreed in principal to reevaluate tasks and responsibilites of political secretaries.

He said political secretaries are to act as the link between ministers and the people.

“Now they are involved in giving out contracts. And this is not the work of a political secretary,” he said.

Mahathir also said the audit department would be given the freedom to carry out its duties with amendments to be made to the Audit Act 1957.

This is to allow the department to fulfil its responsibilities without interference from the prime minister, he added.

“What happened in the past is, the prime minister directs the auditor-general to go audit this and not audit that. This is wrong,” he said.

He said the Freedom of Information Act would replace the Official Secrets Act, although this would not be rushed, so as to allow adequate engagement with the relevant parties.

He added that MPs would no longer be appointed as heads of government-linked companies, with the exception of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

“Previously, main GLCs like Tabung Haji, Mara, Felda and Felda Global Ventures were headed by MPs, which resulted in huge losses,” he said.

He said the government’s move to change the way projects are given had also resulted in an increase in open tenders.

He referred to the Public Works Department, which implements 100% open tenders in its projects. Under BN in 2017, he said, only 30% of tenders were open tenders while 58% were limited tenders and 12% were direct tenders.