IT WAS a bitter-sweet day for Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan today (Oct 2) as he officially takes over as mayor of Kuala Lumpur from Tan Sri Mohd Nordin Abd Aziz in simple handover ceremony at the DBKL headquarters on Jalan Raja Laut.
In his maiden press conference, Kuala Lumpur’s 12th mayor became emotional when reporters asked him to comment on a photo of him that had been circulating on social media ahead of the swearing-in ceremony.
The picture came with this caption: "Do you remember this man, once upon a time, the Selangor MB (Khir Toyo) presented him with a broom...today he will be appointed Datuk Bandar Kuala Lumpur."
It was a message that made a very pointed reference to the infamous broom incident of 2007.
It was the year when then Mentri Besar of Selangor Khir Toyo presented a broom each to under-performing departments in the state government as a way to chide them.
Nor Hisham, who was Hulu Selangor district officer for just three months at the time, had the dubious honour of accepting a broom from Khir Toyo. The district’s revenue collection was below 40% in 2006 and deemed unacceptable.
He wasn't the only one who suffered the indignity, as others too had to accept a broom from Khir Toyo (pic below).
Struggling to hold back his tears, Nor Hisham said he had to receive the award on behalf of the Klang Municipal Council president who was not in town.
“I only took office in September of that year, and the award was in December.
“Clearly, I was not involved in the running of the council in 2006, but as the head, I accepted the broom," he explained.
At this juncture, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad stepped in, saying: “He was not the head in charge at the time but had to bite the bullet to accept the broom."
“In any case, during Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim's time (as Selangor MB), Nor Hisham won the Performance Award for Quit Rent Collection in 2009," Khalid said, adding that some parties were bringing up the broom incident unnecessarily.
On his plans for the city, Nor Hisham said he planned to walk the talk – literally, if he had to.
On Monday (Oct 1), he actually went out to see for himself the situation at Mutiara Fadason in Kepong, where poor residents were forced to use the stairs after the lifts broke down.
“We must walk the talk. We must see, listen and act. It’s going to be my way of doing things," the new mayor said.
He added that he would engage with the urban poor, as well as work with the local authorities that bordered Kuala Lumpur to help solve the issues together.