Kuala Terengganu mayor Datuk Mat Razali Kassim has withdrawn as the returning officer for the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election, the Election Commission (EC) announced on Thursday.

EC secretary Datuk Ngah Senik said in a statement that Wan Mustafa Wan Hassan, the secretary of the Kuala Terengganu City Council, has been appointed with immediate effect as the returning officer.

Wan Mustafa was the assistant returning officer for the by-election.

Ngah said the EC received Mat Razali’s letter of withdrawal and after a special meeting decided to accept his withdrawal.

He did not state why Mat Razali had withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Mat Razali, when contacted, said he withdrew on his own volition and was not pressured to do so.

“My decision was in order to preserve the EC’s integrity and ensure the by-election goes about smoothly,” he said.

However, he refuted that his withdrawing as the returning officer had anything to do with the opposition filing complaints against him that he had campaigned for the Barisan Nasional when addressing a gathering of City Hall’s staff.