PUTRAJAYA: Newly-retired anti-corruption chief Mohd Shukri Abdull, noting that baseless accusations of bribery had been made against him, has asked to be allowed to leave in peace.
Shukri, who retired a year early as chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, said he had been accused of receiving bribes from political party leaders. He described the accusations as baseless.
“I appeal to them to let me leave the MACC in peace. I do not want any more defamatory statements. Let me be with my family safely because I have done my level best for the MACC and the country,” he said.
In an interview with Bernama, Shukri gave an outline of the MACC’s achievements in the year since May 2018 while he was at the helm.
He said that the commission had arrested nearly 1,300 people, among them 30 VVIP politicians or ‘big fish’, 13 top management officers, 30 chief executives of government-linked companies and private firms, and 137 professionals.
Malaysia was now at the same level as other countries such as Singapore and Hong Kong in the fight against corruption.
In that one-year period, he said Malaysia received international recognition when the MACC was named ‘Most Emerging Enforcer for 2018’ in the fight against corruption and power abuse, by the Washington-based Global Investigation Review.
“Numerous foreign delegations came to study with us. Every month there were foreign agencies coming to learn from us. We were often called by international bodies to give talks at international seminars,” he said.
Shukri said the recognition proved that MACC had reached a higher standard.
‘Up to the AG whether to press charges’
Asked whether the MACC’s investigations would result in imprisonment of those involved in the 1Malaysia Development Bhd and SRC International, Shukri said the complete investigation papers had been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers and they decided to press charges.
“For me, when a decision is made to press charges, it means that the public prosecutor is convinced that there is solid evidence to be presented to court. If the public prosecutor is not convinced, why bring it to court then. The MACC’s task is to investigate and it is for the PP to decide (to bring it to court),” he said.
Shukri said that throughout his service at the MACC, he had never given orders to close any files and all the cases that had been filed were investigated in accordance with the law.
He said he brooked no interference as the MACC’s duty is to investigate until completion.
“The question of whether to press charges or otherwise: it is the AGC’s call. Nobody can interfere with MACC’s job,” he said.
‘No file opened on Hishammuddin’
He also expressed regret that there were allegations that he was ordered to leave the MACC for allegedly closing several high profile cases involving, among others, former ministers Hishammuddin Hussein, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said that as far as he could remember, while heading the MACC, there was no file opened against Hishammuddin.
In the NFC Corp Sdn Bhd’s case involving Shahrizat, she was investigated by the police while Zahid had already been charged in court, he said.
On allegations that there was dissatisfaction with him for allegedly releasing the passport of former attorney-general, Mohd Apandi Ali, Shukri said the move had nothing to do with him.
“It was released by the Immigration Department, Apandi applied to the court (for release of his passport), so what has it got to do with the MACC and me?” he asked.
Stress of the high-pressure job as chief commissioner
Asked whether he felt stressed while serving in the MACC, Shukri said this was normal for MACC staff.
“When I was the chief, my bp (blood pressure) was very high, at 160-170 and sometimes reached up to 190.
“When I retired (as deputy chief commissioner (operations) in 2016), my bp is at 120/80… like a young man. When I returned to work my bp shot up to 160, so it is normal for the chief commissioner as the stress level is very high,” he said.
Shukri 58, retired as MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) on July 31, 2016 before returning as chief commissioner in May 2018 on a two-year contract.
However, he decided to shorten his contract which was supposed to end on May 17, 2020.
His successor is Latheefa Koya, former executive director of Lawyers for Liberty, who was appointed to a two-year term from June 1.