Amarjit’s appointment illegal
Published on: Thursday, October 10, 2019
By: Jo Ann Mool
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KOTA KINABALU: The High Court on Wednesday ruled that the appointment of Datuk Amarjit Singh (pic) as the Director of the Water Department by the State Government contravenes Section 3 of the Water Supply Enactment 2003.

Judge Ravinthran N. Paramaguru delivered the decision in chambers in the suit filed by former Chief Minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and Tawau businessman Pang Thou Chung (the plaintiffs) on March 19 this year.

According to the plaintiffs’ counsel, Ravinthran in granting the declaration order, further held that Amarjit’s appointment is a clear breach of Section 3 of Sabah Water Supply Enactment 2003 because he was not a member of the State Public Service prior to his appointment as the Director of Sabah State Water Department.

The judge, however, amended the prayer A of the plaintiffs’ originating summons by taking out the word “null and void”, said the plaintiff’s counsel.

The plaintiffs named Amarjit and the State Government as the first and second defendant, respectively. They were seeking a court declaration that the appointment of Amarjit last year was null and void as it contravened the Sabah Water Supply Enactment 2003.

State Govt must respect the rule of law: Yong

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

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 that he was appointed to the post.

Yong who is also Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President and Pang stated in their suit that the Enactment specifically stipulated that the department director should be appointed from among members of the State Public Service.

They contended 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 Amarjit’s appointment 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 the defendants by Senior State Counsel Dayangku Fazidah Hatun Pg Bagul.


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