The legalisms of the law, the leader and Latheefa

07 Jun 2019 / 13:55 H.

WITHIN three days of the appointment of Latheefa Koya (pix) as the Chief Commissioner of the MACC and Malaysians have become privy, thanks to the excellent press and media coverage, to all the various implications of the prime minister’s unilateral action in exercising his rightful prerogative.

It is clear the law vests the authority for the appointment on the prime minister.

However seemingly legitimate, legalistic and some ludicrous questions are being raised repeatedly as to whether the prime minister can act unilaterally in appointing a MACC Chief Commissioner.

Does anyone recall any fuss when the previous incumbent in that MACC position was appointed.

Ideally the prime minister could have invited all his Pakatan Harapan leaders to a meeting, informed them that the post of the MACC Chief was falling vacant and that he had identified a well known lawyer who was being considered.

After that he could have informed the Cabinet of the same issue. Then as convention seems to require now the prime minister could have notified the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) of the candidate being nominated.

The PSC would have deliberated on the matter and would have either endorsed the candidate, rejected the recommendation or proposed someone else, which, strictly speaking, is not their business.

These processes would have taken time, with unseen twists and turns, and possible leakages of information, would have riled the entire senior levels of bureaucracy that would have rebelled against an “outsider” and a politician taking a coveted senior Jusa( Jawatan Utama Sektor Awam) post (and that is all they care for most of the time) and possibly a witch-hunt against the designated appointee.

Our able cyber troopers from the well known discredited kleptocratic cabal who would have the most to lose from a fearless MACC Chief would have done a splendid job in not only derailing the appointment but discrediting the MACC.

Convention determines that the prime minister is someone who commands the confidence of the majority of the members of Parliament.

Surely the prime minister is by custom and convention invested with some discretionary powers in the appointment of the MACC Chief, in particular.

At age 93 plus, given the vagaries of health and fate, and the need to fill the MACC post urgently I feel the incumbent in the prime minister’s post does not enjoy the luxury of carefully calibrated procedures and protocol, politeness and patience that is currently demanded by the naysayers and nit pickers.

Logic, more than the law, would determine that given the lowest ratings of the PH Government and their well established dismal failure to communicate effectively between themselves, with the public and the press fair but fast action was needed to fill the MACC vacancy.

If he had not acted the way he did we would have had a leadership vacuum in a key flagship position.

We are well aware of some important Federal bodies like Suhakam which are headless, possibly bogged down by the processes outlined above.

PH parliamentarians should work on building the resources, resilience and reputation of their government in providing good governance and not seek cheap publicity by indulging in legalism, friendly fire and taking potshots at their own leader.

M Santhananaban


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