Monday, June 10, 2019

Pakatan under Mahathir becoming like UMNO

From TMI:

Let’s not become the very thing we’ve sworn to destroy

It feels like people in our industry have been talking about little else beyond Latheefa Koya for about an entire week now.

The topic is so hot probably because of how it relates to the biggest meta question in Malaysian politics: who will succeed Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister?

Latheefa is seen to be associated with the faction of PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, who some say Daim Zainuddin wants to be the next PM instead of Anwar Ibrahim. This association is probably fuelled by Latheefa’s constant attacks on Anwar and all those in his camp over the past few years.

Today, we see even more clearly how the aftermath following Latheefa’s appointment as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief has brought to the fore several divisive fault lines in Malaysian politics and civil society.

For the latter, especially, this controversy may be an occasion for some soul-searching.

The highly respected G25 released a statement on the appointment, essentially arguing that, yes, the process was flawed and not ideal, but should be welcomed and celebrated because it “should be seen as an exceptional circumstance”.

The group also stated that the appointment was justified because “after all, these are a means to an end” – “matlamat halalkan cara”, in other words.

Perhaps it is just me, but aren’t these exactly the type of arguments that almost invariably begin a slide down a slippery slope?

The message here seems to be, we believe in principles and institutional reform, but we can overlook these things – and vigorously justify doing so – as long as people we like are placed in positions of power.

It was also argued that the post needed to be filled immediately, as if the former chief commissioner had suddenly resigned and left MACC in the lurch.

Given the optics, I think the public can be forgiven for thinking that it was Latheefa’s appointment that prompted the timing of her predecessor’s resignation, and not the other way around.

Who determines who is morally upright?

G25, though agreeing that the appointment process was flawed, said we must “see the bigger picture” because Latheefa is a “morally upright” person who will enforce the law fairly, “irrespective of her previous political inclinations”.

It doesn’t seem likely that the group would be as forgiving of “previous political inclinations” if, say, Najib Razak had appointed, say, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah as MACC chief. Perhaps, G25 would argue it was because Shafee was not a “morally upright” person.

Without institutional safeguards and transparent due process, however, it seems like we are being asked to take the word of 25 people – who no doubt have sterling reputations – in believing who is “morally upright” enough for public office.

Another oft-repeated argument is that Latheefa’s appointment was 100% legal, and 100% within the purview of the law. I agree completely.

I also agree that every police investigation under the Sedition Act since the 14th general election is 100% legal and 100% within the purview of the law. Does that make it right?

I think Malaysian civil society, more than most, has traditionally had strong views regarding how unjust laws and legal technicalities are poor defences for wrongdoing.

As a politician, Lim Kit Siang opined that the move to appoint Latheefa was legally correct, but politically wrong. Would civil society not have a similar responsibility to have consistent views regarding what is ethically right or wrong?

Selective accountability for the manifesto?

The Pakatan Harapan manifesto states: “The appointment of MACC commissioners must be validated democratically by Parliament.”

When Dr Mahathir wanted to assume the post of education minister, civil society was up in arms – precisely because this violated the PH manifesto.

So, do we pick and choose when to be indignant when the manifesto is violated, and when not to be indignant, based on how much we like the people involved?

This section of the PH manifesto is based on the idea that checks and balances are important, so that people in power do not use their discretion alone to appoint those they like to positions of power, to serve at their pleasure.

It was precisely this discretion that allowed people like Najib to install puppets as the attorney-general, MACC chief commissioner and so on.

Are we to believe now that things are different only because Dr Mahathir and Latheefa are “people of integrity”?

In terms of institutional strength and objective assessments, does it make a difference if 20% of the public subjectively believes in this integrity, or 80% of the public subjectively believes so? If it did, then the media – as influencers of who has integrity and who does not – would be the true kingmakers in the country.

Besides one vote in one general election held only once every five years, is there any democratically accountable way of ascertaining the integrity of not only Dr Mahathir and Latheefa, but all their successors as well?

Genuine check and balance?

The formation of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Public Appointments was a step towards this direction. The idea was that, democratically accountable parliamentarians would play a role in providing checks and balances, instead of letting any one individual unilaterally appoint whoever he or she liked to major positions.

Regarding Latheefa’s appointment, Dr Mahathir appears to have openly admitted that not only did he not consult the committee, but he did not consult the cabinet either.

The message, thus, seems to be: yes, we will use the PSC (and the cabinet, apparently) as a check and balance, but only when we feel like doing so, and when it suits us. Oh, and we will not be bound by anything they say.

A “check and balance” that is used only as and when the executive feels like it is very much no check and balance at all.

Some point the finger not at the executive, but the slow pace of reforms. Unless I’m very much mistaken, however, it is that very same executive that is responsible for the pace of reforms.

If the pace is slow, one is left to conclude that there is far too little political will or interest on the part of the executive in genuinely pursuing reforms that would curb their own power.

It leaves the impression that everyone is all for reform and checks and balances, until such a point where they (or the people they like) are the ones whose powers are restrained by the said reform and checks and balances.

The position of the MACC chief is particularly relevant as the East Coast Rail Link project is soon to begin, opening questions of how the billions of ringgit that will come in as a result will be distributed.

Avoid getting personal
Malaysia’s representative to the Asean Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights penned a passionate defence of his former colleague Latheefa, in which he makes many of the arguments listed above, including emphasising how her appointment was 100% legal.

The said representative is a stand-up guy, and is entirely within his right to share his views and opinions. But to do so in his capacity as a human rights representative to Asean – an ambassador-level position – seems somewhat irregular, and a further blurring of institutional propriety.

A number of individuals have taken umbrage at personal attacks against Latheefa, and they are right to do so.

Anwar-aligned PKR Youth vice-chief Syed Badli Shah Syed Osman called on Latheefa to “resign if she has any dignity left”.

This type of political and partisan polemic is wholly unnecessary, smells of a personal attack, and (somewhat ironically) has no place in dignified public discourse. Latheefa herself, it can be said, is no stranger to being either on the receiving or giving end of such attacks.

That particular part of her history is not wholly irrelevant to the debate surrounding her, given that it has earned her a reputation as a highly partisan and divisive individual – which may, in turn, bog down her work with near constant accusations (whether justified or not) of being biased one way or another.

Animal Farm

Long after Dr Mahathir, Latheefa and even the rest of us are gone, there will still be a prime minister, an MACC chief commissioner, Parliament and so on – or some version thereof.

The question is, what kind of prime minister, MACC chief, Parliament and so on will we have? Will we still have the same feudal power structures, where one’s political “kiblat”, or loyalties, remain a prominent factor, or will we have structures built on principles and institutional strength, governed by robust checks and balances?

The seeds of the answer to that question are planted not tomorrow, but today.

Some of the individuals and organisations mentioned above sometimes give the impression that the worst thing in the entire world that can happen is for Umno-Barisan Nasional to come back into power.

They seem to buy into this idea that any criticism of today’s government only weakens it, and makes it vulnerable to being replaced by external bogeymen.

I fully agree that a return to an era where Malaysia is ruled by the same type of predatory kleptocracy it has experienced for decades is, indeed, one of the worst things that can happen.

Let us not forget, however, the lessons of Animal Farm and The Hunger Games – that fearmongering about external “enemies” can often blind us to the very clear and present danger of the exact same rot growing from within.

If we start compromising our own principles out of some (sometimes manufactured) fear of an external other, we will, to paraphrase Obi Wan Kenobi, become the very thing we have sworn to destroy. – June 10, 2019.

* Nathaniel Tan works for EMIR Research.


  1. In GE14 the silent majority spoke up and despite all the popular opinion polls pointing to a BN victory Harapan won by a clear majority.

    Today the petition status is as follows
    Support Latheefa's appointment: 16,440 signatures

    Oppose Latheefa's appointment: 261 signatures

    This is a tsunami-landslide. Come on you silent majority who oppose Latheefa.....speak up....!!

  2. All you Kong Kali Kong noisemakers please let Latheefa do her job.

    I would like Latheefa to find out why the ENTIRE SRC International Board of Directors had to fly to BSI Bank HQ in Switzerland to check if the 4B Ringgit is still there. The 4B from government employees pension fund. Their retirement. 4 Billion... This was revealed on Day 21 of Jibby's SRC trial.

    1. I luv for Latheefa to investigate how sons of a certain "someone" can ALL become BILLIONaires, wakakaka

    2. So let’s get this think Latheefa won’t investigate Toonsie’s sons....? So you are doubtful of her integrity? I thought you said Latheefa is not the problem but Toonsie and “the process” which doesn’t exist yet? Make up your mind.

    3. Ya-loh, these do called cream de la cream of the melayu elites CAN'T do a simple telephone call OR in this days of Internet communication, can't do a quick electronic banking verification of account with the Swiss bank!

      More likely, just another those paid "melawat sambil belajar" con job!

    4. TS, show me where I said Latheefa won’t investigate Toonsie’s sons

      why are you so defensive of Mahathir? wakakaka

  3. PM9 has no issue with Latheefa's appointment. If she does not perform her job diligently PM9 can always dismiss her later or do dismissals also have to go through the Select Committee...?? Ha ha ha....

    Anwar: Accept Dr M's decision, let Latheefa do her job
    Published: Today 7:30 pm

    PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has urged Pakatan Harapan to accept Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's decision and allow newly minted MACC chief Latheefa Koya to do her job.

    Anwar noted that Mahathir's surprise appointment of Latheefa had courted various reaction from within Harapan as well as NGOs and the public.

    However, he expressed concern that continuous polemics would have a negative impact on the Harapan government.

    "The continuous open polemics raises concern that it could have negative implications on the image of the Harapan government.

    "I am confident that Mahathir and the Harapan leadership will conscientiously evaluate all views and subsequently explain to the cabinet and Harapan presidential council.

    "Therefore, I urge all partners to accept Mahathir's decision and give space to Latheefa (photo) and the MACC to do their duties in a stern and effective manner," he said in a statement released through his office today.

    From a positive point of view, Anwar said the polemics would help strengthen Harapan's commitment to ensure that the MACC will carry out its duties fairly.

    He also noted Mahathir's statement in Malacca today that civil servants should be independent and not have ties that are too deep with political parties.

    "The MACC must act on all cases of corruption, be it involving the old or new government.

    "Harapan, NGOs and the people will continue to watch the progress and effectiveness of the agency," he said.

    1. Latheefa ids NOT the problem. Mahathir is for disregarding processes. The law may not be in place, but as a politician he has an obligation to respect agreed-to processes - but he has shown his couldn't-be-bothered attitude

    2. the bitch is a problem, if she is really that morally upright person, she would have reject the offer, but a bitch is a bitch.

    3. That's where mamak's brilliant mind comes into play.

      This carpetbagger has been hard upped for a political appointment ever since ph formed govt after 509.

      Playing with her ego & Rottweiler character, she will have to prove her worth. Otherwise, her ego will be crushed kau2!

      Difficult time calls for out of box solution mah.

    4. her worth is to suck mahathir n azmin cock, just like xi can only hard towards jiang faction. she is here to protect mahathir son n check lge the bangaloooo man. u r one that shd think out of box.

    5. Still want to propagate yr hate towards CCP, er?

      Mfer, just wait lah & see how this carpetbagger works her ego. Then, perhaps u will know what to do with yr mouth!

  4. So you see there is no way the Select Committee can validate Latheefa's appointment, as Nga has explained the current MACC Act does not permit it. If Toonsie were to refer to the Select Committee everyone will be shouting "illegal, illegal....Select Committee is headed by William Leong, PKR MP, for sure the appointment will favour PKR"....

    Nga proposes amendment to MACC Act

    By Bernama - June 10, 2019 @ 6:15pm

    TELUK INTAN: Dewan Rakyat deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming has proposed that Section 5(1) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act (MACC) 2009 be amended to improve the procedure for the appointment of the MACC Chief Commissioner.

    When suggesting that the amendment be carried out at the next Dewan Rakyat sitting, Nga said currently the section gave the power to the Prime Minister to appoint any individual to head the enforcement body.

    "The amendment must include a clause so that before an appointment is made the appointed individual must be referred first to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee for Major Public Post Appointments.

    "As such, in the appointment process in future, the name of the individual who is proposed by the Prime Minister will be handed to the Parliamentary Special Select Committee for background scrutiny, then the Prime Minister will make a final evaluation before its is submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for appointment," he said.

    1. if the rule or act is unsound or wrong, change the rule first, this is what morally upright person do.

    2. Like what Harapan tried to do with the Constitutional amendments to make Sabah and Sarawak equal to Malaya but the opposition sabotage?

    3. “if the rule or act is unsound or wrong, change the rule first, this is what morally upright person do”


      Morally upright person? Defined by yr silo-ed understanding of how a closed humanistic system works?

      More like blurred bleeding heart who CAN'T see the big picture within his/her misguided self professed silo-ed righteousness!

      How to make the reform EFFECTIVE if that system within is full of rotten parts?

      The RIGHT approach IS to cleanse out the rotten parts first. These can be done using temporary draconian approaches or 以其人之道还治其人之身. Only after then, surgically perfecting the system following a set rules that SUIT the local sopo surrounding.

      Wholesome imports & implementations of a set of rules/ideas based on matured culture/governance IS a recipe for disasters as shown in the failed Arab spring in the severe case OR the idiotic incoherency of the current Formosa administration in mild dose!

  5. QUOTE
    G25 backs Latheefa's appointment as MACC chief

    By New Straits Times - June 10, 2019 @ 10:14am
    KUALA LUMPUR: The G25 has backed the appointment of Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) new chief commissioner.

    The group, comprising influential individuals and heads of civil society organisations, said the prominent human rights lawyer will prove to be an asset for all Malaysians.

    “Even though the appointment is seen as a unilateral move on the part of the Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad), the post needed to be filled immediately.

    “While we uphold the democratic process of checks and balances through the process of a Parliamentary Select Committee, this appointment should be seen as an exceptional circumstance.

    “Corruption in our nation has reached critical proportions, traversing all levels of society. Whilst we had wished for the emergence of the constitutional convention of Parliamentary scrutiny in the appointment process, which sadly, did not happen, it cannot be denied that the appointment was strictly in accordance with the law,” the G25 said in a statement today.

    It said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government came to power against the background of rampant financial, legal and political transgressions which have affected a vast majority of grassroots Malaysians.

    The G25 added that the counterproductive criticisms of Latheefa’s appointment are self-serving, manipulative and politically-motivated.

    “Detractors are exploiting the on-going narrative of PH’s failed promises for their selfish, political advantage.

    “On the contrary, Malaysians have to envision the bigger picture. Corruption, cronyism and nepotism must be tackled by a commission that is professional.

    “It must be steered by a morally-upright and experienced individual at the helm, who will fearlessly, but fairly, enforce the rule of law, above everything else,” it said, adding that these qualities are embodied in Latheefa.

    “We should judge her by her deeds as Chief Commissioner of the MACC, irrespective of her previous political inclinations,” it said.

    “Also, PH is still undergoing a transitionary period whereby there are often unrealistic expectations of Tun Mahathir and his Cabinet.

    “Rather, we must support decisions that promote good governance and appropriate legal processes. After all, these are a means to an end,” the group said.

    G25 urged all Malaysians to welcome Latheefa’s appointment and have confidence that the human rights legal eagle can meet the expectations of citizens who voted for a corrupt-free government machinery.

    “At the same time, we hope that all future vital appointments of this nature will be made through a more democratic process that PH has promised to abide by.

    “G25 calls on all Malaysians to place confidence and trust in the Prime Minister, in the execution of his power.

    “At the same time, we must also be vigilant in opposing the abuse of power by those who were elected into office,” it added.

  6. Another bleeding heart of boxy thinking!

    Can this f*ck understands about principke of setting the house in order FIRST before laying his Utopian checks & balances prerequisite to any administrative depts that have been gaming enjoying brazenly personal hijackings?

    Perhaps, this anglophile deep down just CAN'T seem to fathom that bolihland is not a matured sopo state. Whatever he sees in the demoncratic WEST can be transplanted & implemented, lock stock and barrel, overnight here!

    1. tis i can agree, only a stupid would trust mahathir.

    2. & WHO can u trust in the current stage of bolihland sopo scene if not mamak?

      Tell lah. Don't just shoot with tin kosong one-liner.



    3. one-liner with substance is far more superior than a garbage truck full of verbose diarrhea VAB (venturi airspeed-indicator bullshit), wakakaka

    4. Wakakakakaka…

      Wow~ VAB (venturi airspeed-indicator bullshit) !

      Game to define more?

      My nuke is waiting to strike.

      For someone who has graduated from one-liners to cut&paste similarly farted articles to do yr betting, DON'T u think u r indeed full of twisted shit?

      Added advantages, when caught can claim not written by u.


  7. Nancy Shukri, Gerakan, Siti Kassim, Azmin Ali (of course ha ha), Gobind Singh and PAS all support Latheefa's appointment. The "process" is secondary to the need and urgency to clean up corruption.

    Lawmakers and activists voice support for Latheefa

    Friday, 7 Jun 2019

    PETALING JAYA: Newly-minted Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com­mission (MACC) chief commissioner Latheefa Koya has found support from several quarters over her controversial appointment.

    Among those who have voiced their support are Cabinet ministers, opposition lawmakers and civil rights activists.

    Former de facto law minister under Barisan Nasional Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, a senior Gabungan Parti Sarawak MP, defended the Prime Minister’s prerogative with regard to the choice of appointment.

    “Who are you to question him? Who are we to question him? That is the rule of the law,” the Batang Sadong MP said yesterday.

    Gerakan president Datuk Dr Dominic Lau said that Gerakan was in no hurry to criticise Latheefa’s appointment as a political one, adding that she would be given time to prove her mantle.

    “I congratulate Latheefa as the first female chief commissioner since its establishment 52 years ago.

    “Although this appointment has clearly violated the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, it has become a reality. So we hope that Latheefa can complete the KPIs set by Gerakan to prove that she is brave and not speak empty words in helping Malaysia fight corruption,” he said in a statement yesterday.

    Activist and lawyer Siti Kasim came to Latheefa’s defence after her appointment was questioned by Malaysian Bar president Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor.

    Siti noted that it was not against the law for not consulting the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) over Latheefa’s appointment.

    She added that it was the Prime Minister’s power to appoint whoever he deems fit for the post.

    Questions were raised over Latheefa’s sudden appointment as MACC chief commissioner on Tues­day, replacing Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull.

    While there was support for Latheefa, several parties had questioned the manner in which she

    was appointed as well as her impartiality.

    On Wednesday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he decided on Latheefa’s appointment without consulting his Cabinet or the PSC.

    Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said he was certain that Latheefa’s appointment was based on her legal experience and on merit.

    “I am certain her appointment is based on that particular merit and not her political ideologies.

    “I think we should give her an opportunity to serve the body,” he said when met at the Prime Minister’s Hari Raya Aidifitri open house on Wednesday.

    Also echoing similar sentiments was Communications and Multi­media Minister Gobind Singh Deo, who was at the same event.

    He described Latheefa’s appointment as a welcome move.

    He noted that Latheefa is an experienced and capable person who is familiar with the law applicable to the MACC.

    Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said that her appointment would bring a breath of fresh air to MACC.

    “She fulfils all the necessary criteria,” he said when met at the open house.

    Also welcoming her appointment was Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who tweeted his congratulatory wishes to Latheefa.

    “I look forward to Latheefa cleaning up Malaysia from the stench of corruption,” he said.

    PAS also expressed support for Latheefa with its secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan saying in a statement yesterday that she “is qualified and suitable” for the position.

  8. These Kong Kali Kong Know-It-Alls.

    When your house has a serious termite problem you call a pest exterminator immediately, you don't ask the architect to study the house plan. You do that later.

    There are ongoing corruption cases under investigation and in court:
    SRC, 1MDB etc Jho Low about to be apprehended. MACC cannot be leader-less at this critical juncture.

    Latest update: online petition Latheefa's support grows even more.....

  9. Between Latheefa and her predecessor, I would pick Latheefa. Not politically correct? It is ok. Aren't we used to it?