Sabah Water chief turns up for work despite court ruling


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 10 Oct 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Despite a High Court ruling that the appointment of the Sabah Water Department director contravened the law, Datuk Amarjit Singh turned up for work as usual here on Thursday (Oct 10).

Amarjit, who was a political appointee to the post, turned up at 6.30am on Thursday at the state Water Department headquarters in Wisma MUIS here and proceeded with his daily business.

He held a brief press conference about an operation to cut off illegally connected water pipes to 25 houses, but avoided questions on the High Court judgement.

"I've been told by the state government to continue. I am leaving legal matters to the state attorney-general for appropriate action," he said.

However, the Parti Warisan Sabah ordinary member declined to comment further, and said he was continuing his job as advised by the state government.

On Wednesday (Oct 9), High Court Justice Ravinthran Paramaguru, who is currently the Court of Appeal judge, ruled that the appointment of Amarjit in August last year was in contravention of Section 3 of the state's Water Supply Enactment 2003.

The section requires that qualified members of the civil service to hold the senior position for the Water Department under the Enactment.

The High Court, however, fell short of declaring the appointment as null and void, and all actions done by the director in its ruling on a suit filed on Mar 19 this year by former chief minister and Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee and Tawau businessman Pang Thou Chung.

It is understood that the state government is waiting for the written judgement and would be studying it before they file an appeal.

Following the judgement, Yong urged Amarjit to step down as director and told the state government to respect the Kota Kinabalu High Court judgement.

"I warn the government not to think of 'regularising the illegal' by using other illegal methods," he said.

"The Sabah public service has enough qualified officers to helm the Water Department. Please do not sacrifice the public service just because of a political party member," he said in a statement late Wednesday.

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