Former MACC chief commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull has backed Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s controversial appointment of lawyer Latheefa Koya as his successor.
This, he said, was despite him having initially nominated the names of two high-ranking MACC officers for consideration as his possible successor.
However, he insisted that the prerogative to decide belonged to the prime minister alone.
Speaking to reporters today, Shukri stated he had already begun preparations to leave the post back in March so that the prime minister had ample time to decide on his successor.
“I stated (in my letter to Mahathir expressing the desire to shorten my contract), I was suggesting internal officers (as my successor) as they would understand the MACC duties, so it would be easy for them to carry on with its vision and mission.
“About my successor Latheefa, I didn’t know (she was replacing me). I only found out on (June) 4,” Shukri said at a press conference in Putrajaya, streamed live online.
He further expressed his support for the human rights advocate and former PKR central committee member, and urged MACC officers to follow suit.
Defending her from criticism she lacked experience in enforcement, Shukri said Latheefa is in charge of MACC officers who knew their jobs, and her task is to mobilise them.
Controversy arose when the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) made a sudden announcement on June 4 that Latheefa would replace Shukri as the new MACC chief.
It was stated that Shukri, who took office last year following GE14, had opted to shorten his contract, which had originally been slated to end on May 17, 2020.
This sparked speculation that he may have been forced to resign, and raised questions as to the lack of transparency surrounding Latheefa’s appointment.
Shukri, during today’s press conference, stressed that his departure had been purely voluntary and denied being pressured into leaving due to allegations that he had covered up a number of cases.
It was earlier revealed that the choice to select Latheefa had been solely Mahathir’s, who admitted he opted not to consult his cabinet.
He also reportedly bypassed the Pakatan Harapan presidential council and the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Major Public Appointments, which was formed by the government to vet key posts.