Tributes pour in for the late Ahmad Rejal

Accomplished newsman: A seasoned journalist, Ahmad Rejal is well-respected by the stalwarts of the Malaysian media industry. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: National leaders and members of the media industry have paid tribute to the late Datuk Ahmad Rejal Arbee Mohamed Isa Arbee for his lifelong commitment and contributions to Malaysian journalism.

Ahmad Rejal, who was the 2014 National Journalism Laureate, had helmed some of the biggest Malaysian media outlets, passed away early yesterday. He was 83.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Ahmad Rejal was a former editor-in-chief of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), former group editor of Berita Harian and editor-in-chief of The Sun.

“He was among those who had pioneered the concept of bilingual media. His deeds, contributions and ideas left an indelible mark on journalism and the newspaper industry in Malaysia,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wrote in a Facebook tribute to Ahmad Rejal.

“My condolences to the family. May Allah forgive all his sins and grant him a special place in heaven, Insya-Allah,” Anwar wrote.

Bernama chairman and Star Media Group adviser Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai expressed sadness at Ahmad Rejal’s passing, noting that he had the privilege and honour of working and personally knowing him.

“As someone older than me, I looked up to him,” he said, adding that Ahmad Rejal’s contribution to journalism, especially to Bernama, will be remembered and recognised.

Former Bernama chairman and editor-in-chief Datuk Seri Azman Ujang said Ahmad Rejal had left behind immense footprints in Malaysian journalism and media.

“His professionalism should be a lasting legacy for current and future media practitioners, especially for reporters and journalists at large,” he said.

According to Bernama, Ahmad Rejal began his career in journalism as a cadet reporter with Berita Harian in 1963 before joining Bernama as a senior reporter in 1969.

He was then deployed to Jakarta, Indonesia, as the agency’s first overseas correspondent in 1973.

Ahmad Rejal was among the founding team of Bernama.

Throughout his tenure at the news agency, Ahmad Rejal had served as the head of the Political and Parliamentary Desk and was later appointed as deputy editor and head of the Economic Service before leaving the news agency to join the New Straits Times in 1976.

Ahmad Rejal rejoined Bernama as the editor-in-chief in 1981 before ending his service in 1989.

He was The Sun editor-in-chief from 1996 until 1997 before re-joining Berita Harian as group editor from July 1998 until July 2003.

The veteran journalist had also served as the secretary general of the Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies (OANA) and chairman of the Malaysian Press Institute.

Nearly 200 family members and friends were present to pay their last respects to Ahmad Rejal as he was laid to rest at the Section 21 Muslim Cemetery in Shah Alam at 11am.

Rejaie Arbee said his father was admitted to hospital on March 22 due to a lung infection and that he had passed away at 2.10am.

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