The deceased's brother-in-law, Terry Than, who lives next door, identified the victim as Peng Shih Cheng.
Than, in his 60s, claimed that prior to the incident Peng had gone to the market in the city centre and had just returned home when he found his auto-gate was not functioning, prompting him to go down to open the gate manually.
It was learnt that Peng left his vehicle engine running and was about to open the gate to his house when a man suddenly entered the vehicle and attempted to drive it off in the 8.40am incident.
"I tried to help my brother-in-law when I saw him hanging on to the vehicle door in his bid to stop the suspect, but all I could do was watch in horror as I shouted for him to stop fighting and to let go of the door handle," he said.
It is believed that Peng was dragged some 24 metres away where he lost his grip and fell to the ground, resulting in him sustaining bodily injuries.
He was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived later.
The culprit was said to have sped off towards the Kinamount direction.
Luyang Assemblyman Hiew King Chew was seen visiting the family after being alerted of the tragedy.
City Police Chief ACP Jauteh Dikun, who went to the scene after receiving a call, said Peng sustained injuries to his back, elbow and a fracture on his right forehead possibly due to the impact from the fall.
Also at the scene was Deputy City Police Chief Supt M. Chandra.
Jauteh said the case is being investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder.
In an unrelated case, Jauteh said the man whose body was found at the foot of a hill at Kg Kayu Madang near the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park on Wednesday was believed to be a victim of murder.
He said the case has been classified as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code.
The corpse was described to be that of a man in his early 30s, with a strong physical built and about 160cm in height.
No documents were found on him.
"Post mortem results showed three stab wounds to his back, which is believed to be the cause of death," said Jauteh, adding that the right skull was fractured.
He said investigations showed the murder could have been committed elsewhere prior to the body being dumped at the site.
"There have been no reports of missing family members so far," he added.