Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed today clarified that he was not pressured to resign.
“There was no pressure because this was my own request and I have stated many times previously – I will not resign due to pressure,” he said in a press conference held at the MACC headquarters today.
Abu Kassim also said that he decided to resign when an opportunity came for him to contribute at an international level.
“It’s an opportunity which I simply cannot reject. It’s a golden opportunity that will help both me and the MACC,” he added.
The commission in a statement earlier said that this is the third time Abu Kassim had requested to cut short his contract, which is due to end on Dec 4, 2018.
"This is the third time he applied (to cut short his contract) after accepting the offer from the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) to be a visiting fellow at the world's first anti-corruption university," said the anti-graft body.
Malaysiakini earlier quoted sources familiar with the matter claiming that Abu Kassim could have been pressured by the Prime Minister's Office to vacate his post, while deputy chief commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull is also said to be retiring next month.
Abu Kassim's last day will be on Aug 1, 2016.
MACC said Abu Kassim will also serve on the board of directors for the anti-graft university in Austria and act as lecturer, researcher and consultant at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
Abu Kassim also thanked the government for approving his application to resign, the MACC said.
Malaysiakini also reported three MACC panels - Operations Review Panel, the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel and the Special Committee in the Prevention of Corruption - are left in limbo after falling vacant.
Among those speculated to succeed Abu Kassim is Attorney-General's Chambers senior officer Dzulkefli Ahmad, but attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali denied this earlier this year.
Dzulkifli presently heads the National Revenue Recovery Enforcement team, and sources indicate that he had played a role in helping to clear Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
He was also a member of the secretariat in the multi-departmental and agency's investigations into state firms 1MDB and SRC International, replacing Jessica Gurmeet Kaur, who was initially appointed by then attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail and was suddenly terminated.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing in both the 1MDB and SRC scandals.