No political issues during festivities, please: CM

KUCHING: Politics aside, it is a time for the people to celebrate during this Hari Raya and Gawai Dayak.

On the second day of Hari Raya at Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s open house at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK), reporters attempted to get comments from him on the appointment of Latheefa Koya as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief, but failed.

Abang Johari

Reporters also tried to ask him to comment on several parties who had asked Latheefa to catch Sarawakians’ top leaders.

“It is Hari Raya, I don’t want to talk about it,” he told reporters.

On Wednesday, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) information chief William Manggor urged Latheefa to catch the “big fish” – those who are allegedly corrupt in the state.

Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei also echoed the views of PBDS Baru, and has high hopes that she will wipe out corruption in the state.

There is also an online portal which carries the news that the new MACC chief should investigate a former top politician and his family.

Meanwhile, there are mixed reactions from the state ministers as they gave their views on Latheefa’s appointment.

Sharifah Hasidah

Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said anyone who is appointed to be the head of a government body must not be politically associated.

“Especially in the civil service, such appointment of individuals must not be affiliated to any political party. Just from the civil service, that is the best,” she said.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said Latheefa should be given the opportunity that she is able to deliver her duty.

“Before this, she was a very committed activist and staunch party member of a certain party which she has resigned from.

“So, we have to give her a chance and look at that angle, and I believe we do need characters like that to be helming that kind of organisation, but there must not be selective prosecution such as against political opponents,” he stressed.

Karim said as Leatheefa has been very committed when she was in Bersih and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), hopefully she can put the same dedication and commitment in MACC.

Wan Junaidi

Meanwhile, Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, a former senior police officer before, personally thinks that Latheefa has got the “style”, but to be in the investigation job one needs years of experience.

“I am not against her… But even though she has resigned as a PKR member, in her heart, she is still very much a PKR person,” the veteran lawyer said.

As for Batong Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, she said she has no power to question Latheefa’s appointment, as it is Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s prerogative.

“Who are we to question him, it is the rule of law, whether I disagree or agree I have no power to do anything,” she said.

State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo on the hand hoped Latheefa will be fearless and uncompromising in rooting out corrupt practices in Sarawak.

Lina Soo

“I hope she (Latheefa) will not disappoint Sarawakians to set the record straight, to bring the guilty to justice and the innocent to have their names cleared,” she said.

Latheefa was appointed as MACC’s chief commissioner effective June 1 for a two-year term. She replaced Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull.

She has resigned from both PKR as an ordinary member, and from Lawyers for Liberty where she was executive director.