*The length of Latheefa Koya's tenure has been corrected in the article. We regret the error.*

KUALA LUMPUR (March 6): Malaysia’s first female lead graft-buster Latheefa Koya has stepped down as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner, just nine months after her appointment by previous prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

She is the second top civil servant to resign after Tan Sri Tommy Thomas quit as attorney-general on Feb 28 following last week’s political upheaval.

Latheefa issued a statement this morning confirming that she had tendered her resignation to newly minted premier Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on March 2, putting to rest speculation over whether she was stepping down.

During their meeting, she had also briefed him about ongoing efforts and actions for the recovery of 1MDB funds from abroad.

“He was fully supportive of these actions,” Latheefa said in the statement.

According to her, she had resigned to continue practicing as a human rights advocate.

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

Her resignation is now subject to the approval of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Latheefa said throughout this week, she had met with and briefed her deputy Datuk Seri Azam Bai and other department heads in the commission to ensure an orderly handover of duties.

“It is business as usual in the MACC, in the capable hands of my officers. I am leaving my position with the fullest confidence that the MACC will continue to be uncompromising and tireless in the fight against corruption, irrespective of the position or political allegiance of the perpetrators,” she added.

The fiery lawyer’s surprise appointment by Dr Mahathir on June 1 last year was seen as controversial for two main reasons.

Firstly, the former premier had not informed his Cabinet, let alone consulted them, before making his decision.

Secondly, she was also an active politician who was a senior member of PKR, a component party of the Pakatan Harapan coalition whose government collapsed late February.

However, she had tweeted that she had resigned as a PKR member upon her appointment to ensure that she was independent of any political party.

Latheefa is seen as a staunch supporter of former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali — who led 10 MPs to defect from the party, contributing to the coalition government’s fall — given her vocal criticisms of party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

During her brief stint heading the MACC, she oversaw the serving of forfeiture suits to several parties including former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his family, associates and Barisan Nasional component parties to recover some RM270 million allegedly originating from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

In a move criticised by some quarters as going against the rule of law, on Jan 8, she also played nine audio clips implicating Najib, former MACC chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, ex-attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali and a few others in a cover-up of the 1MDB scandal, describing the subjects of the conversations captured as the “highest level of conspiracy”.

The clips include what is now known as the infamous ‘Darling, can I advise you something!’ quote by someone who sounded like Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor telling off her husband Najib.

However, Latheefa had defended her actions, saying it was vital to ensure that government officials would not engage in criminal activities.

A day before announcing her resignation, she had also ordered the commission to investigate the source of Umno treasurer Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s staggering wealth of close to RM800 million.
 The former Federal Territories minister had attributed his fortune to stakes in businesses and shares in public-listed companies, including the sale of a RM480 million stake in Mutiara Telecommunications Bhd (now known as Digi.com Bhd). - Edge Market, 6/3/2020 
Federal Court Judge Idrus Harun is new AG
Federal Court Judge Tan Sri Idrus Harun is the new Attorney-General, effective March 6.
KUALA LUMPUR: Federal Court Judge Tan Sri Idrus Harun has been appointed as the new Attorney-General, effective March 6.

The 65-year-old replaces Tan Sri Tommy Thomas who stepped down after a 21-month old stint.

Thomas officially resigned as AG after he handed his resignation letter to Dr Mahathir last Friday (Feb 28) evening.

“It is to be noted that in accordance with Clause (5) of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, His Majesty the King has consented to the application of Tan Sri Tommy Thomas to shorten his service as the Attorney General effective February 28, 2020.

“The government is grateful to Tan Sri Tommy Thomas for his service to the country during his tenure as Attorney General.

“In accordance with Clause (1) of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong also approved the appointment of Federal Court judge Tan Sri Idrus Harun as the new Attorney General for a two year period, effective March 6, 2020,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Department. - New Straits Times, 6/3/2020

Former A-G: 'I resigned because Tun M resigned'

Former Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas says his resignation following the change in political leadership was in accordance with the tradition practised in the United Kingdom and other mature democracies. - NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas has cited change in the country’s political leadership as the reason for his resignation.

Speaking to a news portal today, he said his position as AG was a political appointment made by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“When he tendered his resignation, it was incumbent on me to resign my position too.

"It was important for me to step aside to allow the incoming prime minister to appoint his own AG,” he was quoted as saying.

Thomas also said his resignation following the change in political leadership was in accordance with the tradition practised in the United Kingdom and other mature democracies.

He said he planned to take a break and expressed gratitude to Dr Mahathir for giving him the opportunity to serve the country.

“I tried my best to do justice and prevent injustice until my last day in office. I am thankful for the privilege to serve,” he said.

Thomas handed his resignation letter to Dr Mahathir on Feb 28.

He was appointed to the post of AG in 2018 after Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the 14th General Election (GE14) and he had served for 21 months. His two-year contract was supposed to end in June. - New Straits Times, 4/3/2020