Despite a flood of criticism following her appointment, newly-minted MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya has vowed to forge ahead with her mission - to turn Malaysia into a corruption-free country.
“There have been many opinions since my appointment was announced the day before Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Anyone has the right to question, criticise or issue their opinions. That is all right.
“My job is clear - that is to combat corruption wherever (it is). With the support and encouragement of the people and my officers at MACC, we will change Malaysia(ns) to a community allergic to corruption and free from corruption,” she said in a statement sent out on her first full working day on the job.
Latheefa, who was, prior to her appointment, a long-time member of PKR and Lawyers for Liberty executive director, said she would asses long-term approaches, including education, to create a culture "intolerant" of corruption.
“It is the right of every Malaysian citizen to live, work and prosper in an environment free of corruption.”
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Latheefa would be replacing Mohd Shukri Abdull, who stepped down just after a year of taking over the helm and with almost a year left to his contract.
Her sudden appointment to lead the anti-graft body courted controversy, with many questioning her impartiality due to her political affiliations, despite she having resigned from PKR just prior to taking up the post.
Many also pointed out that her appointment had by-passed the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Public Appointments formed by the new government to reduce the ability of the prime minister to intervene in key appointments, including to the MACC, as part of its election manifesto.
It was later revealed that Latheefa had been the personal choice of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who opted not to consult even his Cabinet on her candidacy.