MELAKA: Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali says he chose to relinquish the Melaka chief minister post willingly.
"My decision to step down came from the bottom of my heart and no one forced me to do so," he said on Thursday (March 30).
Sulaiman said he had been thinking about quitting for some time and wanted to do it when the time was right.
"I did not intend to cling to power for long and I am happy with my decision," he said.
Sulaiman, who is Lendu assemblyman, said he felt it was a "dignified exit" and hopes his successor will bring about effective changes in terms of economic development to the state.
"I had expressed my intention to step down as chief minister to Umno president (Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) on a few occasions as I wanted to give somebody else the opportunity (to helm the state)," he said.
Asked about his emotional farewell during a gathering with his staff at Seri Negeri in Ayer Keroh, Sulaiman said he had been working with them for a long time and it was normal to feel sad.
He was earlier seen in tears in a viral video while bidding farewell at his office.
The 56-year-old resigned after enduring a tumultuous 16-month tenure and had faced several attempts to oust him.
He was first sworn in as the 12th Melaka Chief Minister on March 9, 2020 before his administration collapsed on Oct 4, 2021 when four assemblymen withdrew their support, citing that they had lost confidence in his leadership.
Following this, a state election was held on Nov 21, 2021 when Barisan Nasional secured a landslide victory and Sulaiman returned as the 13th Chief Minister before his decision to quit.