PETALING JAYA: The Petaling Jaya mayor should have referred the dispute over development plans for the Lorong Sultan A&W site to the state government instead of relying on provisions prioritising the decision of the one-stop centre (OSC) committee, says a Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) councillor.
Referring to the incident on Monday in which he was ejected from a full board meeting, Sean Oon said Petaling Jaya mayor Mohd Azizi Mohd Zain wanted to “shut the matter down” based on OSC provisions that say the committee’s decision is final.
“By right, he should refer the matter to the state government because we have voiced our objections,” he said, adding that this was provided for in the Local Government Act 1976.
Speaking to FMT, he warned that the incident would set a precedence for future decision-making processes if left unaddressed.
The meeting in question was said to have convened to decide on a recent OSC ruling which approved the development plans of landowner KUB Malaysia Bhd for the A&W site.
The councillors reportedly disagreed with the approved 1:8 plot ratio.
Following Oon’s ejection, another 10 members decided to walk out of the meeting in protest.
‘Decision based on an impossible score’
Oon said under MBPJ’s point system, KUB had scored 7.2 out of the full eight points, with the deficit reportedly due to KUB’s inability to fit a park within the development area.
However, Azizi had not explained why he wanted to give the landowner the full eight points when it was only allowed 7.2, he said.
“If he wanted to give (KUB) 8.0, he had a duty to inform the other councillors why. He didn’t explain that.
“This is a decision made on an impossible score. Yet, the mayor chose to approve it.
“We want the state to look at the matter, whether the mayor has acted ultra vires – beyond his power – and whether the council can send the proposal to the OSC for a relook. We want it to be discussed again.”
As a next course of action, Oon said, the councillors had brought the matter to the state government and were awaiting feedback.
‘Why 25 councillors if decisions are made by 4?’
Oon added that only four of the 25 councillors were part of the OSC committee.
“Including the mayor, there are five persons in the OSC. Twenty-one councillors were not in the OSC meeting. We deserve to know what was discussed and why such decisions were made.”
Noting that councillor Derek Fernandez had not been present at the meeting, Oon asked why there were 25 councillors if decisions could be made by four people.
“The reason why the remaining councillors’ feedback is important is to ensure there are proper checks and balances within the local council,” he added.
“We can’t put too many people in the OSC. It would make things very messy. So we put five, but it does not mean that these five have all the power to decide what happens in the entire Petaling Jaya.”
Oon said his removal from the board meeting was against the Local Government Act 1976, and that Azizi had not followed the necessary procedures before ejecting him.
Saying the mayor failed to issue a mandatory warning before ejecting him, Oon claimed he had been singled out because he took up Azizi’s “invitation” to be relieved as chair of the meeting.
“He kept repeating to me that if we were not happy with him chairing the full board meeting, we could vote for him to be removed as the chairperson of the meeting.
“So the fourth time he said it, I proposed that he be removed. That was when he signalled for the auxiliary police to remove me.”
‘Never before in MBPJ history’
According to Oon, no councillor had ever before been expelled in the history of MBPJ.
He also asked why the board meeting was treated differently from meetings in the past.
“Why did he stop the press from recording? Why did the mayor chase reporters out from the meeting?” he said, adding that the recording of the full board meeting had been taken off the MBPJ website.
It is common practice for meeting proceedings to be posted on the site for those who missed the live streaming.
Fellow MBPJ councillor Cynthia Gabriel also said the walkout was unprecedented.
She said the Selangor menteri besar should instruct that the matter be brought back to the OSC committee for review.
“He also needs to demand explanations from the mayor and institute disciplinary action if he is found to have abused his power.
“This is the first time councillors have walked out of a full board meeting,” she said.