Lessons from ruckus over Latheefa Koya’s appointment – 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

Two important lessons from the ruckus over Latheefa Koya’s appointment as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner are:

  • The importance of constantly building trust among Pakatan Harapan leaders; and
  • The need for Pakatan Harapan leaders to reaffirm commitment to Pakatan Harapan Manifesto as the Road Map to a New Malaysia.

As everyone has acknowledged, the surprise appointment of Latheefa as MACC Chief Commissioner is the sole prerogative of the Prime Minister and is completely constitutional under present legal arrangements.

Latheefa’s appointment is also not being questioned as far as her credentials and qualifications are concerned.

The issue in contention is that her appointment is not in keeping with Promise 14 of the Pakatan Harapan 14th General Elections Manifesto, viz: to “upgrade the MACC to a commission that is recognised in our Federal Constitution, similar to the status of the Election Commission of Malaysia”; “MACC will report directly to Parliament rather than to the Prime Minister”; increase in the number of MACC commissioners one of whom will be the chair of MACC and “Appointment of these commissioners must be validated democratically by Parliament”.

Those who protested that Latheefa’s appointment as MACC Chief violated the spirit of the pledge in PH Manifesto Promise 14 are not wrong, and I am sure that if Latheefa had not been the person involved in the present controversy, she would be in the very forefront of the ruckus criticising any appointment of MACC Chief in a similar fashion as her present appointment.

In fact, going by this logic, the appointment of Mohd Shukri Abdull on May 18, 2018 would have violated Promise 14 of the PH Manifesto.

Constitutional arrangements to implement Promise 14 of the PH Manifesto have not been put in place, creating the invidious situation where the Prime Minister is constitutionally correct but politically wrong to exercise his sole prerogative to appoint Latheefa Koya as MACC chief.

As highlighted by the defeat of the Constitutional Amendment Bill in the April Parliament, it is no easy task to make legal and constitutional changes to pave the way for the attainment of a New Malaysia.

Will the Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Opposition parties support Constitutional amendments to implement Promise 14 of the PH Manifesto?

The Pakatan Harapan Government must be able to achieve greater headway in the goal to build a New Malaysia as outlined in the PH Manifesto in the second year as compared to the first year of the PH Government, which had largely been spent to establish the extent and magnitude of the heinous political, economic and financial scandals left behind by the former regime.

The battle against corruption is one of the principal objectives of Pakatan Harapan.

Both the MACC and Malaysians as a whole must realise the fallacy to think that the corruption trials of former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and a few bigwigs of the former administration signify that Malaysia is firmly on the road to becoming a top nation of integrity.

The greatest test of Latheefa Koya as MACC chief is whether she could ensure that while the first year of the Pakatan Harapan Government in Putrajaya was a year to bring the kleptocrats to book, the second year of PH government with MACC under her leadership will be a year to bring to justice the sharks in the war against corruption so as to set Malaysia firmly on the path of transformation from a corrupt nation to a leading nation of integrity in the world.

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.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri