Ex-DBKL officer agrees didn’t blindly follow Ku Nan’s handwritten note, says just proposal

Former DBKL deputy director-general Datuk Zulkifli Ibrahim is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex July 9, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former DBKL deputy director-general Datuk Zulkifli Ibrahim is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex July 9, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 9 — A retired Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officer today said he had not blindly followed a handwritten note by then Federal Territorities Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor for the sale of DBKL land to a property developer.

Former DBKL deputy director-general (project implementation and maintenance) Datuk Zulkifli Ibrahim, 64, instead described Tengku Adnan’s note or minutes regarding developer Aset Kayamas’ bid to buy DBKL land as a “proposal”.

Zulkifli, who is the 13th prosecution witness in Tengku Adnan’s ongoing corruption trial, was referred to various documents in court today.

Zulkifli was shown Aset Kayamas’ January 26, 2015 letter to Tengku Adnan, where the company asked to buy two plots of DBKL land measuring 4.05 acres in Bandar Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur for a proposed project for the building in equal ratio of both affordable homes priced below RM200,000 and apartments to be sold at market price.

In that January 26, 2015 letter from the developer, Tengku Adnan had as minister added and signed off on a handwritten note in Malay and addressed to Zulkifli, saying: “Please look at this proposal and if possible to be implemented through joint venture. Please feedback, please discuss with the company.”

The letter with the handwritten note or minister’s minutes was then forwarded to Zulkifli on January 27, 2015.

When asked by Tengku Adnan’s lawyer Datuk Tan Hock Chuan if the minister’s minutes was merely for Zulkifli’s consideration, Zulkifli replied: “I considered it as a suggestion from YB minister to be considered.”

Tan later asked: “Not necessarily the minister’s minutes is followed blindly?”

“I agree because asked to study,” Zulkifli replied.

Zulkifli had later in a February 6, 2015 letter to Tengku Adnan’s senior private secretary Datuk Mohd Rahimi Rejab recommended that the matter be redirected to DBKL deputy director-general (planning) Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah as it involved the sale of DBKL land which fell under the latter’s jurisdiction.

Among other things in the letter, Zulkifli had noted that he understood that there were plans to build a hostel for DBKL’s training institute on the two plots of land, and that Aset Kayamas was proposing to build the hostel for DBKL with the construction costs to be deducted from the land price.

Zulkifli, who retired in May 2015, said he had no further knowledge of the land purchase proposal by Aset Kayamas.

Throughout the trial, Tan had asked multiple witnesses including a former mayor to share their views on whether Tengku Adnan’s instructions regarding the final land price and land sale to Aset Kayamas amounted to a decision for DBKL to implement or a proposal for DBKL to consider.

Earlier today, DBKL urban and rural planning officer Mohd Yushanizar Md Yusoff agreed that Aset Kayamas’ April 20, 2015 letter to Tengku Adnan regarding the same land matter could be considered an appeal to the minister, following a prior rejection letter on April 3, 2015 by then Kuala Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Phesal Talib due to DBKL’s own plans to develop the two plots of land.

Mohd Yushanizar said developers may either submit proposals to DBKL or to the federal territories minister, agreeing with Tan that there is no issue as long as the minister forwards the developers’ proposals to DBKL for consideration and processing.

“I agree, in my view, it is a proposal paper only; not an official application,” said the 39-year-old who had worked as a liaison officer between DBKL and the federal territories minister.

He later explained that his belief that an official application would have been via forms.

Earlier today, the ninth prosecution witness and DBKL Economic Planning and Development Department’s (JPEPP) former director Ab Salim Mansor indicated however that he had felt that there was “orders from big boss” in the land sale to Aset Kayamas, describing “big boss” as the federal territories minister.

Ab Salim said developers would usually send in their proposals to develop any land in KL via letters addressed directly to DBKL, but said that Aset Kayamas had in this case addressed their letter to the minister.

He said a committee in DBKL had then discussed the matter of selling the land to Aset Kayamas, and decided to comply and agree with the alleged “decision” for the sale of the land.

The trial before High Court judge Mohamed Zaini Mazlan resumes tomorrow.

The next trial dates are July 11, July 16 to 19, and August 1 to 2.

The trial is over Tengku Adnan’s alleged acceptance of a RM2 million bribe in June 2016 from property developer Aset Kayamas Sdn Bhd’s Tan Sri Chai Kin Kong in the form of a cheque banked in into Tengku Adnan’s company Tadmansori Holdings Sdn Bhd.

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