KUALA LUMPUR: The dismissal of Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad as New Straits Times Press group editor-in-chief is not because of political or personal reasons, said the Prime Minister.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said it was due to an article Abdullah Ahmad had written on Saudi Arabia that prompted its government to send a protest note to Wisma Putra.
“We feel the article in the New Straits Times can cause problems between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia as well as other Gulf countries.
“If you read the article, it came to the point of asking for the ‘totalitarian’ Saudi government to be brought down, to be overthrown.
“That was an act that we could not accept,” the Prime Minister said after chairing a special Umno supreme council meeting yesterday.
Abdullah, who is Umno president, said he had discussed this with the Umno management committee and the committee members “felt the same way” – that the article had affected bilateral relations between the two countries.
The article, he added, could also complicate Malaysia’s position as chairman of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
The Prime Minister, who wanted “to be open” about Abdullah Ahmad’s dismissal, said it was not motivated by “internal politics nor has it anything to do with me or anyone here”.
“If it was for personal reasons, we would have taken action a long time ago. But we are tolerant enough to bear with the many articles published on many subjects, including Umno,” he said.
He said Umno had expressed its position on the matter to the NSTP management, which sent a letter of termination to the group editor-in-chief on Friday.
“It was done properly based on the terms of appointment made between him and his employer,” Abdullah said.
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