Former lawyer Latheefa Koya started her first day as Malaysia’s new anti-corruption chief on Friday (June 7) – and immediately responded to the controversy over Mahathir’s desicion to appoint her.
Given Latheefa’s active history in Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), a member of the ruling coalition, the decision has been criticised as a political move, and representative of the Government going back on its promises at the 14th General Election.
The Malaysian Bar also cautioned that Latheefa’s did not have any experience working in law enforcement, and her position could potentially influence the autonomy of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
In a statement published on the MACC website and on social media, Latheefa said she was “alright” with the public debate over her new role, as people were “entitled to question, criticize and express their opinion”.
“My job is clear. It is to go after corruption anywhere and everywhere it is found,” she said.
She also described living and working in a corruption-free environment as a “fundamental right” for all Malaysians, adding that the she would work together with the public and MACC’s officers to “create a culture of intolerance to corruption” in the country.
She added that the agency was also considering long-term measures, such as education, to combat the practice.