KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — The Kuala Lumpur mayor may have the powers to decide on matters within the city but not necessarily the courage to do so, the court was told today during former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s corruption trial.
Former Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Mhd Amin Nordin Abd Aziz, 64, was today asked questions on whether the mayor or the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) would have the ultimate power to make decisions and how such power would be exercised if the minister makes suggestions or instructions.
As the seventh prosecution witness in the trial, Mhd Amin Nordin was asked by Tengku Adnan’s lead defence lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan on whether the power to sell land is given to the local authority and not the minister, based on the Local Government Act.
Tan further suggested that the law meant that the power to sell DBKL-owned land lies in the hands of DBKL, but with such exercise of powers requiring the federal territories minister’s consent.
Mhd Amin Nordin said he was not a legal expert and that he was unsure, prompting Tan to ask if he as the mayor would have followed the minister’s orders if the orders were in breach of the law.
Tan: For example, no development order but development continues.
Mhd Amin Nordin: Cannot, the minister knows too.
Tan: When the minister gives a good, reasonable proposal that benefits DBKL staff and that benefits Kuala Lumpur residents, DBKL will agree.
Mhd Amin Nordin: Correct.
Tan: But the ultimate power is DBKL’s. The minister can give proposals, but if DBKL does not agree...
Mhd Amin Nordin: Maybe the power is with the Mayor, but the Mayor is not brave to make decision.
Mhd Amin Nordin’s unexpected response drew laughter from the public gallery.
The federal territories minister oversees DBKL, as well as the administration of federal territories Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.
As elections for local government in Malaysia has been abolished and has not been revived, the city mayor is a position via appointment and not determined through the polls.
Tengku Adnan is on trial for allegedly receiving a RM2 million cheque issued in June 2016 by property developer Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd which was deposited into Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd where he is the majority shareholder, while it was known that Aset Kayamas had connection with his official duties as a public servant in his position as federal territories minister.
The prosecution has said it will produce evidence to show various matters, including that Aset Kayamas purchased two plots of Bandar Tun Razak land held by the Kuala Lumpur mayor and that the company dealt directly with Tengku Adnan as the minister in seeking for deferment of land-related payments.
Earlier today, Mhd Amin Nordin agreed with Tan that any notes written by the federal territories minister in letters forwarded to DBKL are the minister’s proposals for DBKL’s consideration.
Mhd Amin Nordin said it was “rare” for DBKL to disagree with the minister’s proposals, noting that it would usually provide “alternatives” to the minister if it disagreed.
“But in this case, DBKL also agreed with what was decided by the minister,” he said.
Mhd Amin Nordin was referred to two handwritten notes by then-minister Tengku Adnan, where Tengku Adnan indicated his approval or support on Aset Kayamas’ two letters addressed to him and seeking for lower land price and to defer a 10 per cent payment on the land.
Mhd Amin Nordin was then referred to DBKL’s September 8, 2015 letter informing Aset Kayamas that its 10 per cent payment of over RM2 million could be deferred for three months, with this letter following Aset Kayamas’ first appeal to Tengku Adnan.
When asked if the September 2015 letter showed that it was the DBKL administration which had decided on the three-month postponement of the payment, Mhd Amin said the DBKL letter was drafted by DBKL’s Economic Planning and Development Department and that he was merely agreeing and endorsing its advice and proposal.
The trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan will resume tomorrow morning.