Mahathir’s procedural mistake, Latheefa’s challenge
QUESTION TIME | There are two questions over Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s unilateral appointment of human rights advocate and lawyer Latheefa Koya as the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission or MACC. First, did Mahathir follow due process in appointing Latheefa? Second, is Latheefa the right person for the job?
Almost everyone now agrees that Mahathir had the right to make the appointment. (However, there is a persuasive dissenting view which says the cabinet is the authority to decide this.) Which is not saying much because previous PM Najib Razak exercised that same right when he dismissed key MACC officials investigating him, exemplifying the need for greater accountability and governance.
While he may have the legal right, as prime minister, to make this appointment, the Harapan manifesto specifically promised a reference to a Parliamentary Select Committee. Also, considering that Mahathir comes from a party which held just 13 Parliamentary seats after GE14, he should have consulted his partners and taken into account their views at least.
At his own admission he did not, a blunt and dangerous admission that he can exercise his prime ministerial prerogative at any time to the full extent of the law.
What were Mahathir’s motives - was it to get the best possible person for the job? Why make the announcement on the eve of Hari Raya? And why choose a politician, and one who has made very serious allegations against Anwar Ibrahim while she was a member of PKR?...