NST Leader: Great good to come?

Latheefa Koya clocks in as the new MACC chief today. NSTP/NURUL SHAFINA JEMENON

NEVER has there been an appointment more controversial than this. From the moment Latheefa Koya’s appointment as the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief was made public, a spectrum of reactions began to form.

Some were distressed to no end. Some were caught by surprise. There were others who thought it was a Raya gift.

Perhaps they were all looking at the episode with different spectacles, as we are wont to do.

The distressed see Latheefa as a former PKR member, with an uncut umbilical cord. This must be the most unkindest cut of all.

By this token, no one can be a former anything, let alone a former PKR member. Among the distressed is a bunch who sees Latheefa’s appointment as a bad move for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the prime minister-in-waiting. How so? Is this all about politics?

Why see intrigue in everything? Anwar, on his part, is a leading light in the fight against corruption. His advice: give the prime minister time and space to explain Latheefa’s appointment to Pakatan Harapan’s presidential council.

The views of the surprised were a little more palatable. They were more concerned about the manner in which Latheefa’s appointment was made.

They argue: Pakatan Harapan’s 14th General Election manifesto pledges to validate the appointment of MACC commissioners by Parliament. The surprised, you may say, are all about a promised process.

Fair enough. But the appointment of the commissioner itself is well within the requirement of Section 5(1) of the MACC Act 2009: the king makes the appointment on the advice of the prime minister.

As it has always been. No laws were breached here.

Raya gift? This bunch extols the virtues of Latheefa in fighting for the cause of justice. Latheefa’s first statement as chief of MACC yesterday makes this clear: “My job is to transform Malaysia into a corruption-averse and corruption-free society.”

We must judge her by the decisions and actions she takes in bringing about a nation that is intolerant to corruption. Not because Latheefa is a woman.

Merit does not vanish nor increase because she is a woman. Neither does merit vanish because she was once a member of a political party of a particular stripe.

Debates about gender, intrigues and everything in between do not enrich us. Our focus must be in getting the job done.

Latheefa must be judged, like her predecessors have been, on whether she delivers the goods as required by the office she holds.

Success in the job requires professional and personal attributes. Honesty and integrity are two. These two values require putting aside personal bias. There are others, for sure.

The chief of MACC must always put the agency above everything else in the decisions she takes. To judge her before she does anything is to put the cart before the horse.

The New Straits Times wishes the new chief corruption buster all the best. We have a standard-issue advice, one that is as old as the newspaper: do your best, Latheefa

Read more @ https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/leaders/2019/06/494614/nst-leader-great-good-come

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