Siti Kasim Tells Malaysian Bar President to Speak Only for Himself on Politics

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Malaysian Bar chief told to “stick to the law” when issuing statements on behalf of the statutory body.

Prominent lawyer and activist Siti Kasim today took the Malaysian Bar president to task for using his post to express his personal political views on Latheefa Koya’s appointment as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief.

She called Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor’s statement about Latheefa Koya’s selection political and unethical, telling him to “stick to the law” when issuing statements on behalf of the statutory body.

She said Abdul Fareed should not be making personal political statements on behalf of its members.

“I question the wisdom of our President in making this political statement. The Bar only issues statements when it concerns the law.

“This is unethical and shouldn’t be the Malaysian Bar’s stand. The President can state his own personal opinion, but not on behalf of its members,” she wrote on Facebook on Thursday (June 6).

“I resent this political statement by the Bar. Stick to the law Mr President! Not consulting the PSC is not against the law. Many posts in current government or before were held by inexperienced people. The prime minister has the power to appoint who he deems fit,” Siti said.

Abdul Fareed had earlier issued a statement, stating that the Malaysian Bar is concerned with the manner in which Latheefa was appointed.

He said there is no justification the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) was not consulted to review the selection of a new MACC chief.

“An obvious oversight of this nature does not reflect well on the resolve of the government in practising transparency, accountability, integrity and good governance, which are attributes that it has been championing vociferously.

“The government cannot continue to say that the manifesto is not binding, as the pledges in the manifesto had been made in order to convince the rakyat to vote it into power,” he said in a statement on Thursday (June 6).

Abdul Fareed acknowledged Latheefa’s legal experience in thorny lawsuits but also said she was unpractised in leading law enforcement agencies, especially one as important as the MACC and during such a critical time for Malaysia.

He also noted that Latheefa had been a PKR member until a day before her appointment was announced, adding that her previous proximity to the party’s affairs would invite the perception of conflict of interest.