HYPOCRISY OR MYSTERY? I HAD ‘NO CHOICE’ BUT TO ACCEPT MACC CHIEF POST, CLAIMS FORMER AZMIN ATTACK-DOG LATHEEFA – EVEN AS PUBLIC DISTRUST GROWS OVER MAHATHIR’S HANDLING OF HIS BLUE-EYED BOY’S GAY SEX SCANDAL

NEW Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Latheefa Koya had to state that she was not heading any investigation into corruption allegations against her former party mate Azmin Ali for fear of sparking negative public perception over the probe.Latheefa told The Malaysian Insight she had to come out quickly with the announcement as she has a good relationship with Azmin, who is also the economics affairs minister.

The public statement was necessary although she is never involved in any investigation as the MACC chief, she said.

“There are two types of conflicts of interest. One is actual conflict of interest and one is just perception.  

“This (Azmin’s case) is a situation of perception. I think I (was) left with no choice (but to make the announcement). If not people would perceive that the investigation would be tainted because I’m leading it,” Latheefa told The Malaysian Insight.

The MACC probe is into claims that Azmin allegedly received money from UEM Group Bhd but the PKR deputy president was cleared of any wrongdoing by the anti-graft agency.

Coming just a week after her appointment, Latheefa issued a statement to say the investigation would be handled by her deputy, MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Azam Baki and his team.

“As MACC head, I don’t get involved in the actual investigation. But people need to understand this.

“This (the announcement) is just to make sure it’s (the investigation) not tainted. Otherwise there will be no end and I’ll have to keep explaining. So I may as well be clear about it.

“I can assure that all investigations will be done without fear or favour.”

Economics Affairs Minister Azmin Ali was accused of accepting RM3 million from UEM Group but MACC later cleared him of any wrongdoing. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, July 9, 2019.
Economics Affairs Minister Azmin Ali was accused of accepting RM3 million from UEM Group but MACC later cleared him of any wrongdoing. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, July 9, 2019.

Latheefa, who spoke to The Malaysian Insight at MACC’s Putrajaya headquarters, also touched on her role in PKR before joining MACC, and all the criticism she had received from quarters who said her appointment was politically motivated.

“Well, I don’t know about condemning. There were concerns and shock but I got a lot of support despite the fact that I may have been a PKR member.”

She said she held no position in PKR for more than a year and didn’t participate in the party elections last year.

She added that she had been vocal in her criticism in her capacity as a human rights lawyer and activist as well as in her capacity as former director for Lawyers for Liberty (LFL).

“I have been active and vocal in LFL, I can’t recall speaking in my capacity as a party leader. So, there’s a perception that needs to be corrected. I understand the concern, but I took an immediate step to resign as soon as I was appointed MACC chief.

“I can assure everyone that my job will be carried out fairly without favouritism. That can be judged through my work.”

She is the first woman chief of MACC and the first person without an enforcement background to lead the anti-graft agency. – July 9, 2019.