Dr M: PM decides on key appointments until parliament committees are made legal

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PUTRAJAYA (June 11): The government will stick to the "old idea" of referring to the Prime Minister's recommendation to appoint chiefs of key national bodies until Parliamentary Select Committees are able to take over the role legally, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"We intend to have Parliamentary Select Committees. But to do that, we have to change some provisions in the Federal Constitution. To change that, we need two-thirds majority [in Dewan Rakyat]. And the government does not have a two-thirds majority," said Dr Mahathir.

"They [the Parliamentary Select Committees] cannot function legally yet. So at the moment we [use] the old idea of making the appointment — that is, the Prime Minister decides. The others can give their views," he added.

He was speaking to the press after the third meeting of the Economic Action Council here.

Questions have been raised on the manner in which lawyer and former PKR member Latheefa Koya was appointed to lead the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), after the Prime Minister's Office announced her appointment earlier this month.

The Pakatan Harapan coalition, which Dr Mahathir chaired, had promised during the last general election that all future appointments of key bodies such as Human Rights Commission, Election Commission (EC) and MACC must go through respective parliamentary select committees.

Dr Mahathir has previously confirmed that he did not consult the Cabinet for Latheefa's appointment.

When asked today if Dr Mahathir consulted the Cabinet on previous appointments — such as the appointment of lawyer Azhar Harun as EC chairman, Dr Mahathir diverted the question and insisted that he is not required to consult the Cabinet for the appointments.

"I can ask for opinions on various people, and then I select based on the merits of the case," said Dr Mahathir.