PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, better known as DKL or Dollah Kok Lanas, was relieved of his position as New Straits Times Press Group editor-in-chief yesterday.
The former MP for Kok Lanas in Kelantan was told that his contract with the NST had been terminated yesterday, just hours after returning from Hong Kong here he spoke at a forum on “Malaysia under Badawi: Challenges, Changes and Prospects.”
Abdullah, when contacted earlier in Hong Kong, said he believed his dismissal was connected to an article he wrote about the Saudi royal family entitled, “Freeing the Prophet's Land,” on Nov 12.
“I was told I had to go in the national interest,” he said.
The high-profile editor said his resignation had nothing to do with a number of articles he had written, promoting Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the next deputy prime minister.
A recent article caused ripples in Umno when he wrote that Pahang would fall unless Najib was appointed to the post.
But the article on the Saudi state had serious implications for the Government, which is bidding for the secretary-general's seat of the OIC as well as on the good relations needed for the smooth flow of Malaysian pilgrims to Mecca and Medina.
Abdullah confirmed he had been told by Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob that he would have “to withdraw” from the NST post.
It is understood that that his dismissal was decided at Wednesday's Umno management committee meeting chaired by acting party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Abdullah said he accepted the decision and that he would “go as quietly as possible.”
“I think they want me to make my exit as undramatic as possible. I accept it as part of life, I have been arrested under the ISA before. But I leave happy because the NST is on the up. In the two years I was there, I put things back in the black.”
Abdullah was appointed to the job in May 2001 following the resignation of Datuk A. Kadir Jasin. His contract was due to end next October.
Late last evening, the NST issued a statement saying that Abdullah's term with the company ended with immediate effect but that he remains a board director.
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