Latheefa Koya, 46 has broken the history by becoming Malaysia’s first woman to head the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). She is the 5th chief commissioner, replacing Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull. Latheefa or often called Kak Lat is one of the female talents who was appointed under the new Pakatan Harapan administration along with Malaysia’s first female chief justice, first female deputy prime minister and heads of GLCs and MNCs.
1. The first woman to head the country’s anti-corruption authority
In fact, Latheefa Koya is also the first woman to be appointed to be in charge of the country’s anti-corruption authority, including MACC’s predecessors Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and National Bureau of Investigations (NBI). (All 13 before her, including Shukri, were men).
2. Her family moved to Kuala Lumpur when she was 3 months
This fearless woman was born in Kerala, India and moved to Kuala Lumpur at the age of 3 months. After moving to Malaysia, Latheefa settled down and grew up at the city of Petaling Jaya. She went to Taman Petaling Girls School and the Assunta Girls School.
3. Obtained her law degree from the University of London
Her education background was mesmerising. Latheefa Koya worked and studied at the same time for her law degree. She obtained her degree in 1997 from the University of London. Later, she admitted to the Malaysian Bar to allow her to practice law in 2001.
After passing the Malaysian Bar, she has been attached to the law firm Daim and Gamany which was co-founded by former minister Tun Daim Zainuddin and the late civil rights lawyer S. Thaicasigamany. The firm is best known for taking on public interest and human rights cases.
4. A human rights activist, politician and lawyer
Latheefa co-founded Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) in 2010 as an advisor and eventually took up the position of executive director. According to the source, she had in the past taken part in the Bar Council’s Legal Aid Centre, Refugees and Migrants Clinic, Immigration Law Reform Committee as well as human rights group called Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) and the Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA movement.
5. She had defended many politicians and activists
As a legal law practitioner, she was on the legal team that defended many politicians and activists against sedition charges in court during former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.
Among the names she represented include Paulsen, Chua Tian Chang, Mat Suhaimi Shafiei, cartoonist Zunar and student activist Adam Adli Abdul Haalim.
Besides, she was on the legal team defending Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his second sodomy case. She was also the lawyer for a controversial issue relating to former bank clerk Johari Mohamad, who was charged along with Rafizi Ramli over the leaking of bank documents relating to various accounts.
6. She walks the talk
She had been active in politics, having in the past held positions in PKR such as central committee member and legal bureau chief. Due to her appointment as MACC chief, people especially politicians were questioning about it so she immediately sent in her resignation letter. A bold woman who walks the talk.
7. A fearless woman with a no-nonsense approach
People often describe Latheefa as having a fearless no-nonsense approach. She is a great credential to lift Malaysia to new heights in fighting over corruptions especially among top leaders. We hope that the new chief of MACC can improve Malaysia’s Corruption Perception Index ranking and aggressively fighting against bribery and graft for a better nation.