KOTA KINABALU: The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department , Datuk Liew Vui Keong, has crossed the line by openly disputing Kota Kinabalu High Court Judge Ravindran Paramaguru’s judgement that the appointment of Datuk Amarjit Singh as Director of the State Water Department is illegal. Liew had issued the statement in his capacity as Minister in the PM’s Department at the Dewan Rakyat Lobby 15 October.
“This is unprecedented and uncalled for. It is not Liew’s place to protest the High Court judgement. He has breached the doctrine of Separation of Powers between the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary.He must be censured,” Parti Bersatu Sabah(PBS) vice-president, Datuk Johnny Mositun said.
Mositun also questioned Liew’s locus standi to interfere in a matter that involved the state government as the latter was not a member of the state administration.
“ This is a state matter, and it’s for the State Authorities to appeal the Judgement. It’s not for Liew to dispute the judge’s finding through the media, especially in his capacity as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. If he was speaking in defence of Amarjit he should rightly have said it in his capacity as member of the state ruling party,” Mositun said.
Mositun said Liew’s interpretation of the Sabah Water Resources Enactment was nothing short of bizarre and ridiculous.
“ He contends that the requirement for the Director of the Water Department to be from officers of the Civil Service does not apply in this case because it confers on that post the status of “Water Authorirty”, and the qualification does not apply to Amarjit Singh. How bizarre is that?” Mositun said.
Mositun said Sabah did not have an independent Water Authority but only a Water Resources Management Council consisting of a Chairman, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry in charge of Environment, the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Directors of various State Departments and two members with technical expertise, about 18 in total.
“ So how does Liew contend that the Director of JANS (Amarjit Singh in this case) is the Water Authority? He doesn’t have the say on policy, which rests with the respective Minister and Permanent Secretary. And What about the Directors of the Various Departments on the Council of whom many are more senior in civil service ranking? Liew is talking rubbish,” Mositun said
Mositun said PBS was concerned that Amarjit Singh, instead of taking leave of absence till the issue was resolved, chose to continue in office merely on directive from the Minister and Chief Minister.
“ That is not in the interest of our state. Under these circumstances the government must ensure the security of all files, documents and records in case it’s appeal fails and a new Director takes over., “ Mositun said.
Calling the whole thing a charade and fiasco Mositun said the episode had actually demoralized the entire state civil service and raised suspicions among Sabahans that all was not well within the State Water Department and Departments under the Ministry of Infrastructure Development.-pr/BNN