G25 welcomes the appointment of Ms. Latheefa Beebi Koya, as Malaysia’s new Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). On the advice of Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad, His Majesty the Yang di Pertuan Agong made the appointment. She succeeds Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, who resigned a year before his two-year contract was due to end in 2020. G25 is confident that the controversial appointment of the prominent human rights lawyer will prove to be an asset for all citizens of Malaysia.
Even though the appointment is seen as a unilateral move on the part of the Prime Minister, the post needed to be filled immediately. While we uphold the democratic process of checks and balances through the process of a Parliamentary Select Committee, this appointment should be seen as an exceptional circumstance. Corruption in our nation has reached critical proportions, traversing all levels of society. 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.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government came to power against the background of a much-needed overhaul of financial, legal and political transgressions that have affected a vast majority of grassroots Malaysia. Counter-productive criticisms of Latheefa Koya’s appointment are self-serving, manipulative and politically-motivated. Detractors are exploiting the on-going narrative of PH’s failed promises for their selfish, political advantage. On the contrary, Malaysians have to envision the bigger picture. Corruption, cronyism and nepotism must be tackled by a commission that is professional. 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. These qualities are embodied in Latheefa Koya. We should judge her by her deeds as Chief Commissioner of the MACC, irrespective of her previous political inclinations.
G25 acknowledges that the process of her appointment was unconventional. Having said that, it is necessary to seek a formal change in the law in order to impose the rigour of parliamentary scrutiny. However, till then, the flexibility in adhering to constitutional conventions should not be denied. Also, PH is still undergoing a transitionary period whereby there are often unrealistic expectations of Tun Mahathir and his Cabinet. Rather, we must support decisions that promote good governance and appropriate legal processes. After all, these are a means to an end.
All Malaysians should welcome Latheefa Koya’s appointment and have confidence that she can meet the expectations of citizens who voted for a corrupt-free government machinery. At the same time, we hope that all future vital appointments of this nature will be made through a more democratic process that PH has promised to abide by. G25 calls on all Malaysians to place our confidence and trust in our Prime Minister, in the execution of his power. At the same time, we must also be vigilant in opposing the abuse of power by those who were elected into office.
We in G25 have often stressed the importance of institutional governance, which includes parliamentary oversight on the executive branch of government. The soul of democracy lies in the process of verifying and validating the actions of our elected leaders, so that they may execute their powers in the best interests of the country. We therefore hope the Pakatan Harapan government will honour the promises listed in its election manifesto. These include the introduction of parliamentary oversight through its select committees, without further delay.