Sabah govt withdraws appeal against ruling on water director’s appointment

Amarjit Singh was appointed the Sabah Water Department director in March 2019.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has withdrawn its appeal against a 2019 judgment by the High Court here that the appointment of former state water department director Amarjit Singh was unlawful, former chief minister Yong Teck Lee said.

The court had delivered the ruling on Oct 9 after Yong, who is also Sabah Progressive Party president, and Tawau businessman Pang Thou Chung, filed a suit to challenge Amarjit’s appointment on March 19 last year.

They challenged the appointment on grounds that it contravened Section 3 of the Sabah Water Enactment 2003.

According to Yong, this final outcome of the court case is a victory for the Sabah public service and the rule of law in the state.

“The legal challenge to the illegal appointment of Amarjit as director has been successfully concluded today when the state government withdrew its appeal against the High Court’s judgment,” he said in a statement today.

“The Court of Appeal hearing that was scheduled for today has been vacated.

“It (outcome) is a morale booster for the public servants because they have to undergo proficiency training, competency assessments, professional development and pass government examinations.

“In contrast, Amarjit, an active member of Warisan, never had to undergo any course nor sat for any civil service examination before being made the head of a government department.”

He also said Amarjit’s case served as a lesson for the government of the day, of any political party, to not play around with the integrity of the public service.

“This is also a fitting lesson for Warisan ministers in the closing days of their term in office,” he said.

“The chief minister, the infrastructure development minister (Peter Anthony) and the then federal law minister (Liew Vui Keong) have aggressively defended the illegal appointment of the water department director in spite of the court ruling.”