Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has brushed aside allegations that Latheefa Koya’s appointment as MACC chief commissioner signalled an impending move against his designated successor Anwar Ibrahim.
“They can make all kinds of accusations, but I choose those who are qualified,” he told reporters in Malacca this evening.
Mahathir was responding to MCA president Wee Ka Siong, who expressed concern for Anwar in the wake of Latheefa’s appointment.
“I hope her appointment is not some grand conspiracy scheme to stop Anwar from becoming the next prime minister,” Wee had said.
However, Mahathir reiterated that he picked Latheefa as she was the most suitable person for the task.
“Latheefa met the requirements and she takes her work seriously, that is why I chose her,” he added.
Latheefa, who resigned as a PKR member ahead of her appointment, is known to be aligned to party deputy president Azmin Ali.
Previously, she accused Anwar of practising cronyism and nepotism in appointing state party chiefs.
Hours after her statement, Anwar’s daughter, Nurul Izzah, resigned as PKR vice-president and the party’s Penang chief.
Latheefa was named MACC chief commissioner last Tuesday, on the eve of Hari Raya and said that she was only notified of her appointment on the previous day.
Following this, there has been calls for her to resign on grounds that her past political affiliation would compromise her independence.
Others quarters also criticised her appointment on the basis that Promise 14 of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto stated that the appointment of the MACC chief should be validated by Parliament.
Proponents of Latheefa’s appointment have pointed out that Mahathir had acted constitutionally and that legislations for Parliament to vet potential MACC commissioners do not currently exist.
The Parliamentary Selection Committee on Major Public Appointments is scheduled to meet sometime this week to discuss Latheefa’s appointment.
PSC members have expressed a need for the committee to clarify their role with the prime minister. According to the committee’s two-page terms of reference, their job is to “meneliti” (scrutinise) such appointments.