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Latheefa: I had no time to think - or I might have turned down MACC job

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Latheefa Koya had very little time to think about it when the offer to head the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission came her way.

She told The Malaysian Insight, that she might have turned it down if she had been given more time to think about it.

“This was out of the blue for me. When the offer came, I was given a short time to think," she said at the MACC headquarters in Putrajaya.

When news of her appointment broke on the eve of Hari Raya last month (June 4) it was the talk of the town, but she wasted no time thinking about all the varying opinions, and dove right into her task.

She didn't even meet Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad about the job until after she was settled in. She added that she was surprised at how much the premier knew about her.

“He reminded me of my powers (as the MACC chief) and told me that I need to know how to use my powers.

“It was a very short meeting and he never mentioned any specific cases to me," she said.

Latheefa admits to being surprised at how much work, source verification and evidence-gathering go into an investigation.

“If the MACC catches you, they will not bring you to court unless they have a strong case against you. It’s that kind of standard that they have,” she said.

The former executive director for Lawyers for Liberty does not see a conflict with her past work as a human rights lawyer.

“Graft-busting is intertwined with human rights. Without dealing with corruption, a lot of human rights are trampled and denied. I’m able to reconcile with the work that I’m doing with MACC," she said.

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