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Mahathir appoints new anti-corruption commissioner

PUTRAJAYA : Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said it was his decision to appoint Ms Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner.

"She is very straight. She says what is the truth. She doesn't mince her words," said Dr Mahathir.

Her appointment took many people by surprise, including several Cabinet ministers. It has also led to online criticism that it was a political appointment.

Dr Mahathir confirmed that he had not discussed the appointment with his Cabinet.

"Normally I make the decision myself because I don't have to ask the Cabinet about who I approve.

"If she finds something against the law, she will investigate and report," he told a press conference at the Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house celebration in Seri Perdana yesterday.

However, Dr Mahathir added that he had "listened to many people" before coming to his decision.

When asked about the surprise created by the sudden announcement, Dr Mahathir said that such announcements happen.

"Sometimes it happens. For example, when DAP proposed me as prime minister, that was a surprise to me. But sometimes, we get surprises," he said.

Ms Latheefa's appointment was announced on Tuesday. She replaces Mr Shukri Abdull, who had quit even though his tenure was to have ended next year.

She has resigned as a Parti Keadilan Rakyat member and as the executive director of Lawyers For Liberty.

To a question about her having been part of Pakatan Harapan before she resigned from PKR, Dr Mahathir said they could not penalise their members who helped them win the 14th General Election in May last year.

RIGHT QUALITIES

"That is not fair. Of course we don't make them heads of departments or companies. They can become members of the board.

"In certain cases, if they have the right qualities, we will appoint them - even those who are in politics," he said, when asked if there could be impartiality in the appointment.

When asked why no one from within the MACC was picked, Dr Mahathir said: "It is not always that we appoint people who are No. 2, No. 3 and all that. We have a right to appoint anyone we feel is fit."

He added that Mr Shukri had wanted to step down since last year.

"It took time to find a replacement," he said. - THE STAR

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