"Everyone knows that you are not involved in 1MDB. Why are you feeling stressed over the 1MDB issue?"
These were the words of a Bank Negara senior official that had led Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah to finally decide to resign as second finance minister and dissociate himself from the 1MDB scandal.
In an interview with Sinar Harian today, Husni said he had been under heavy stress for several months as he was tasked with resolving the growing 1MDB controversy, even though he was never part of the debt ridden sovereign fund when it was first set up.
The stress had even caused Husni to suffer prolonged high blood pressure.
Husni said he had contemplated resigning since January this year but could not bring himself to do it.
However, on one fateful Saturday while he was flying to the meeting of Asean finance ministers in Laos, he fell ill in the afternoon due to rising blood pressure.
"I told the officers (with me) that I can't attend the meeting in the evening," Husni was quoted saying.
A senior Bank Negara officer then asked why Husni was being hard on himself over 1MDB even though he was not involved in the scandal.
"Those words opened my heart... I had to separate work, things that do not involve me and my condition.
"I felt relieved (after resigning). 1MDB no longer disturbs my mind and heart," the Malay daily quoted him saying.
Sign from Allah
Husni said he took the elevated blood pressure which he suffered for some five hours at the time as a sign from Allah.
Husni abruptly resigned from his position during a cabinet reshuffle in June, when he also resigned from all party positions.
He lamented about "hypocrites" who dealt with corruption issues and shared that he was once criticised when he proposed efforts to improve Malaysia's standing in Transpareny International's corruption perception index.
The Sinar interview is the first time Husni has spoken openly about his departure from cabinet.
He had previously downplayed suggestion his resignation was linked to the 1MDB scandal.