KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 ― Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull today sought to dispel rumours of a political plot behind his recent departure as the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Shukri said he had informed Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad from the onset during their meeting on May 14 last year that he would only serve as the MACC chief for one year.
“I had to come forward to tell the truth about the shortening of my service, and please tell the public that I did not resign, I merely shortened my service that was supposed to end May 17, 2020,” he told a news conference at the Everly Hotel in Putrajaya this morning that was also aired on Facebook.
He said he was compelled to clear the air publicly due to allegations that he had to leave because of some case cover-ups.
“Allegations saying I was fired are all baseless, I have never taken bribes, I have never abused a single sen of the government’s funds and I never cover up anybody,” he said.
In explaining the events that led up to his one-year service as MACC chief, Shukri said he was called in as a retiree to meet Dr Mahathir at Yayasan Perdana on May 14, 2018.
Shukri said he had no plans to return to MACC due to how much tension he faced throughout his 32 years of service there and had initially wanted to recommend Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali to take up the MACC chief post, but was immediately told upon meeting Dr Mahathir that he will be starting work the next day.
Shukri said he spontaneously accepted the job but set a condition then, which was that he would only take the position for one year.
“And I told Tun I will focus on two issues, firstly to complete my duties that had not been completed when I was deputy chief, that is complete the 1MDB and SRC International cases, secondly, I wanted to resolve MACC’s internal problems where there were factions and disunity.
“Why I set one year for my period of service? Because I was confident I can resolve these two main issues in between six months to one year,” he said.
Shukri said the chief secretary to the government had later notified him that he would be given a three-year contract as MACC chief, but noted that he had disagreed as he had only promised Dr Mahathir one year of service.
“Tan Sri Ali Hamsa said tak cantik (it doesn’t look nice) if the contract is for one year, he said win-win situation with two-year contract. I agreed but I told Tan Sri Ali Hamsa I agree for two years for contract purposes, but not necessarily I will go for two years,” he said.
Shukri then credited MACC officers for ensuring the completion of his mission.
“After six months, at the end of November or early December, working very hard, my officers, at that time no break, no breaks on Saturdays and Sundays, no holidays even during Raya. At that time no holidays even during Hari Raya Puasa, Hari Raya Haji.
“Within six months, MACC managed to complete the cases of 1MDB and also SRC International and also a few other big cases. The other VVIP cases were also completed.
“And the second issue, MACC officers’ internal problems were also resolved. They are very united, cooperative and give strong support... it means my mission then has been achieved.”
Shukri said he was even prepared as of December 2018 to make an early exit and give up his post to Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali, but the latter was later appointed to head the National Anti-Financial Crime Centre.
Shukri said he had also in a March 6, 2019 letter told Dr Mahathir that he wishes to leave the MACC chief post on May 1, 2019, as he had completed his duties within the promised one-year period. He also recommended two senior MACC officers as his successor.
However, Shukri disclosed that he only knew the identity of his successor, Latheefa Koya, on June 4 ― same as everyone else when her appointment was announced by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Latheefa’s appointment was effective from June 1.
Shukri said he had continued working until June 4 while waiting for Dr Mahathir’s decision on his bid to make an early exit from the MACC.
Reiterating that he did not suddenly shorten his contract or was suddenly removed, Shukri said he had made early plans and even provided Dr Mahathir with a two-month notice to find a replacement.
“Because I hold on to my promise with Tun... I am the MACC chief, I have to uphold integrity, I must keep my promise.
“If I don’t keep my promise, if I don’t uphold integrity, how can I be MACC chief? Whether Tun accepts or not, that is another matter,” he said, referring to his one-year promise.
“It is not a secret among my officers then that I wanted to shorten my contract, in my office, I called and told them. It’s no secret, many officers knew I wanted to go,” he later said.
Shukri also confirmed he had finally received a letter from the government regarding its approval of his application to shorten his contract, adding he was happy with this outcome.
Shukri expressed hope that he would be able to have a peaceful retirement instead of facing untrue allegations.
Media reports previously stated that Shukri’s term of service with MACC was to end in May 2020.