KOTA KINABALU: The High Court here has declared that the political appointment of Datuk Amarjit Singh as Sabah Water Department director last August is illegal.
High Court Judge Ravinthran Paramaguru - who is currently a Court of
Appeal judge - ruled on Wednesday (Oct 9) that the appointment of Amarjit was in contravention of Section 3 of the state's Water Supply Enactment 2003.
The High Court however fell short of nullifying all actions done by the director in its ruling on a suit brought by former chief minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee and Tawau businessman Pang Thou Chung.
In an immediate reaction, Yong said the state government should know what to do in order to comply with the law.
Yong in his suit had sought a court declaration that the appointment of Sabah Water Department director Amarjit last year was unlawful as he was not a member of the public services.
In their suit, they sought a declaration that Section 3 of the enactment, which spelled out that only members of the public service were qualified for senior posts was mandatory.
Yong and Pang claimed that Amarjit had never been a member of the state civil service, adding that he had never undergone proficiency training and assessments, professional development and government examinations required for someone to be appointed to such a senior post.
They contended that he was appointed merely because he was a member and office-bearer of the ruling Parti Warisan Sabah.
In their suit, they claimed Amarjit's actions since his appointment on Aug 10 last year had jeopardised water supply in Sabah.
Among which, they cited the abrupt cancellation of two crucial water supply projects in Tawau and Lahad Datu on the day of Amarjit's appointment while adding that his incompetence had resulted in several "questionable" actions by the water department.
The plaintiffs also claimed in their suit that Amarjit's move to terminate the concession agreement of six firms operating water treatment plants was another consequence of his incompetence.
They said the termination of this contract had exposed the Sabah government to lawsuits to the tune of RM409.8mil.