The mayor: An advocate of green initiatives, Ahmad Phesal (second right) has been in strumental in the introduction of the Kuala Lumpur Car-Free Day programme that was launched in January this year — filepic
SPECULATION is rife that a new man will helm Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) as Datuk Bandar when the two-year term of Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib ends on July 18.
Word that the current Datuk Bandar’s tenure will not be extended has been making the rounds and it is believed the powers that be have already shortlisted several candidates for the city’s top post.
A source from the Federal Territory (FT) Umno said several politicians had been lobbying for the post.
The senior member, who is close to FT Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, said they believed that a mayor with a political background can better serve the city’s residents.
This, however, looks unlikely given that all 10 mayors in the past 40 years have been government servants.
For now, it is hard to look beyond Federal Territories Ministry secretary-general Datuk Adnan Md Ikhsan and Public Service Department (JPA) deputy director-general (Operations) Datuk Seri Zainal Rahim Seman as the most likely candidates.
Adnan, who joined the ministry in 2011 after serving four years as the Subang Jaya Municipal Council president, has been actively working on the Kampung Baru and Kampung Kerinchi development issues. This could work in his favour.
Zainal Rahim, a former Human Resource Ministry secretary-general, has had 30 years’ experience in the public sector since joining the civil service as an Administrative and Diplomatic Officer in 1984.
He has since held posts in various government departments, including as Penang state secretary, Penang Municipal Council president and assistant director at the Pahang Land and Mines Director’s Office.
Another name mentioned is the FT Ministry’s deputy secretary-general Datuk Mohd Jamal Mahussin, who has held senior positions at both state and federal levels in his over 30 years in the civil service.
Despite all this, the possibility that the incumbent mayor will be retained for another term cannot be ruled out, as sentiment among City Hall staff is that Ahmad Phesal, who was appointed as the 10th KL mayor on July 18, 2012, should be given more time to achieve what he has set out to do.
Local government experts have, in fact, long called for a longer duration for the post of mayor as they believe that two years is not enough to enable a mayor to see his plans through.
A source from within City Hall said the controversy generated by the assessment rate increase had unfairly put the mayor in a bad light, but Ahmad Phesal would be prepared to serve if given the opportunity.
Some property owners took to the streets late last year to demand that Ahmad Phesal resign because of the hike, which many deemed excessive.
Kuala Lumpur has chalked up several successes under the leadership of Ahmad Phesal, a former FT Ministry secretary-general who has been in public service for more than 35 years.
A notable achievement is City Hall’s “OSC 1Submission” procedure, initiated to cut red tape for developers when applying and submitting development plans.
DBKL introduced a 12-step procedure for developers when applying for a development order, which saves both parties a lot of time.
Initiatives like this helped Malaysia to become the sixth easiest country to do business, according to the World Bank Doing Business Report 2014.
An advocate of green initiatives, the mayor has also been instrumental in seeing over 100,000 trees planted in the city, along with the introduction of the Kuala Lumpur Car-Free Day programme that was launched in January this year.
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