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Ramkarpal: PM's unilateral appointment renders checks and balances meaningless

Published:  |  Modified:

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's admission that he unilaterally appointed former PKR member Latheefa Koya as the new MACC chief was a cause for concern.

Ramkarpal added that de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong had missed the point when he said the appointment complied with the law, as the crux of the issue was Pakatan Harapan's pledge to curb the prime minister's unfettered discretion.

"The whole point of promise 14 in Harapan's election manifesto is to ensure a check-and-balance and transparency of such appointments by the setting up of a parliamentary select committee on public appointments.

"The purpose of such a committee becomes meaningless if such appointments are made unilaterally without even consulting the cabinet," he said in a statement today.

Ramkarpal added that personality was no doubt an important aspect in the appointment of top government officials, but the manner in which they were appointed must be of equal, if not greater importance to inspire public confidence.

"The ability to appoint unilaterally implies the ability to dismiss unilaterally as well, which is why proper consultation with all parties, especially the cabinet, is crucial so as to avoid unnecessary perceptions that may arise as a result of such unilateral appointments or dismissals.

"With respect, unilateral appointments such as this is not part of a healthy democracy and ought not to happen, irrespective of the quality or otherwise of the appointee," he said.

On Tuesday, the Prime Minister's Office announced that MACC chief Mohd Shukri Abdull had cut short his tenure as the MACC chief and that Latheefa would replace him immediately.

However, the appointment came as a surprise as neither the cabinet nor the parliamentary select committee on public appointments had been consulted on the matter.

Civil society organisations have praised Latheefa's track record in human rights advocacy as well as her "no-nonsense" personality, but have also raised concerns about the process in which she was appointed.

Latheefa resigned as a PKR member on June 3, after she was informed about her appointment.

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