Ex-MACC chief says Dr M had two months to find his successor

(MMO) – Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull revealed today that he gave Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad two months’ advanced notice before stepping down as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief.

The man who relinquished the heavy mantle of the MACC chief just days ago also disclosed that he had proposed to the prime minister two candidates from within the commission as his replacement and was surprised when Dr Mahathir appointed outsider Latheefa Koya instead.

Shukri said that he wrote a letter to the prime minister on March 6 about his vow made on May 14, 2018 to return to MACC as its new captain on the condition that he serve only one year to resolve the tangled web surrounding the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and SRC International Sdn Berhad scandals and address the commission’s internal discord.

“I said in the letter, the work is done, the cases are resolved, already charged. And at the same time, I listed a long list of other VVIP cases that have been resolved and charged in court.

“In that letter, I also stated that I propose to shorten my contract effective May 1, 2019 and I stated that I propose my successor — two senior MACC officers to replace me,” he told reporters in a news conference at the Everly Hotel in Putrajaya this morning that was also broadcast live on Facebook.

Shukri related that his suggestion for internal promotion was because both the candidates were familiar with the MACC’s operations and would be able to manage its future direction and missions smoothly.

“That means Tun had two months, I gave very ample time to Tun to find my successor, so the process of replacing me goes on smoothly,” Shukri said.

He added that he carried the March 6 letter with him when he met the prime minister before stepping down, but noted that Dr Mahathir did not indicate if he agreed to the request for an early exit to his two-year contract that was to expire only in May 2020.

“So never mind, I waited for his decision. Until the end of May 1, I didn’t receive any decision. I continued working as normal and still received pay until June 4,” Shukri said, adding that he only found out on June 4 that his successor was already appointed.

It was only on June 4 after meeting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Chief Secretary to the Government that Shukri knew that the person appointed is an “outsider, not someone I proposed”. He described the meeting with the Agong as a “courtesy call”.

“That is the story actually. It is not that I suddenly left or I shortened my contract suddenly or I was removed but the planning I made was from the start,” he said.

Shukri declined to reveal the two senior MACC officers that he had proposed to Dr Mahathir, confirming however that he had informed the duo of his proposal to the prime minister.

He also disclosed that Dr Mahathir didn’t tell him why he chose Latheefa, but noted media reports describing her as firm.

But he acknowledged that it is the prime minister’s prerogative to make appointments and said he would not dispute Latheefa to succeed him, instead expressing confidence that she would do her best for MACC.

Shukri also confirmed today that he had finally received an official response regarding his application to end his tenure as MACC chief earlier.

“That is what I have been waiting all this while, I asked for it earlier, I just received a letter from the Chief Secretary to the Government, the government agrees with my application to shorten the contract. I have received it, OKlah, I am very happy, my wish has been achieved,” he said.

Shukri also said it was normal for MACC officers to be stressed, noting that he had high blood pressure of 160 and even up to 190 when he was MACC deputy chief in the past, noting that it fell to 120 when he opted for early retirement and that it had rose to 160 again when he took on the MACC chief post.