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Appointment of Sabah Water Dept head illegal
Published on: Wednesday, October 09, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: The appointment of Datuk Amarjit Singh as the Director of the Water Department by the State Government was in contravention of Section 3 of the Water Supply Enactment 2003, the High Court ruled, Wednesday.

Judge Ravinthran N. Paramaguru delivered the decision in his chambers for the law suit filed by former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee (pictured, third from left) and Tawau businessman Pang Thou Chung on March 19 of this year.

The plaintiffs named Amarjit and the State Government as the first and second defendants, respectively.

They were seeking a court declaration that the appointment of Amarjit last year is unlawful as it contravened the Sabah Water Supply Enactment 2003.

They also sought a declaration that Section 3 of the Enactment spelling out that only members of the public service were qualified for senior posts such as directors was mandatory.

They also claimed in their suit that Amarjit’s actions since his Aug 10, 2018 appointment had jeopardised water supply in Sabah over the short, medium and long term.

Yong gives Water Dept until Monday to file affidavits

These include the abrupt cancellation of two crucial water supply projects in Tawau and Lahad Datu in the state’s east coast on the same day Amarjit was appointed to the post.

Yong, who is also President of Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), and Pang stated in their suit that the Enactment specifically stipulated that the department's director should be appointed from among members of the state public service.

They claimed that Amarjit had never been a member of the state civil service and had never undergone proficiency training, competency assessments, professional development and government examinations as required for someone to be appointed to such a senior post.

Instead, they believed that Amarjit’s appointment as Water Department Director was merely because he was a member and office bearer of the ruling Parti Warisan Sabah.

The plaintiffs were represented by counsel Yong Yit Jee and Darren Nicholas Punai, while Senior State Counsel Dayangku Fazidah Hatun Pg Bagul appeared for the defendants.



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