July 12, 2024


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Malaysia’s graft-buster chief Latheefa Koya resigns

KUALA LUMPUR: Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Latheefa Koya has tendered her resignation, as the country sees a switch in federal power that ousted the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. 

In a statement on Friday (Mar 6), Ms Latheefa said she was not pressured to vacate the office. 

“It was my own decision to do so. Speculation that pressure was brought upon me is baseless,” she said.

Ms Latheefa said a letter conveying her intention to resign was submitted to newly installed Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday, and it was subject to the approval of the king. 

She said Mr Muhyiddin understood her position when they met on Thursday to discuss her resignation. 

“I also briefed him about our ongoing actions and efforts for the recovery of the stolen 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) monies from abroad. He was fully supportive of these actions,” she said in the statement.

This was the second such exit in the last few days after United Malays National Organisation, which was defeated in the 2018 general election, came back to power. Attonery-general Tommy Thomas tendered his resignation last Friday. 

Ms Latheefa’s appointment to lead the MACC in June last year has raised eyebrows after then-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted that he did not consult the Cabinet on the matter. 

READ: Malaysian Attorney-General Tommy Thomas resigns, say sources

This was despite PH’s election promise that such appointments would go through a parliamentary committee. 

As the MACC chief, Ms Latheefa investigated the 1MDB fraud and led efforts to recover assets linked to the scandal. 

In January, she made public audio clips of conversations believed to be between former prime minister Najib Razak, his wife Rosmah Mansor and several other individuals, which she said have shed light on serious issues such as abuse of power, criminal conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

The conversations, believed to have taken place between Jan 5 and Jul 29, 2016, were said to be linked to the 1MDB scandal.

One of the clips contained a heated conversation between a man and a woman, believed to be Najib and Rosmah.

“Can I advise you something?” the woman was heard saying in a raised voice.

“I don’t like this. Darling, you are the prime minister, you should take charge and not anybody else okay? You got goons around you to advise you.”

READ: ‘Rosmah wasn’t scolding me’, says Najib on leaked audio clips related to 1MDB scandal

When she testified in Najib’s corruption trial on Thursday, Ms Latheefa maintained there was nothing illegal about what MACC had done.

“It was my duty to show that never again can the AG, or the prime minister’s office or MACC be involved in criminal activity by forging documents and omitting information,” she said, according to the New Straits Times.

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