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When AB Hubback resigned from KL Sanitary Board

AB Hubback's appointment as the FMS Government Architect in 1911 also saw him as an Unofficial Member of Sanitary Board Kuala Lumpur. Unhappy with one of F.W Douglas' move as the Acting Chairman of KL Sanitary Board , Hubback submitted his resignation letter to FMS Director of Public Works, J. Trump, in October the same year. Read the reason to his resignation and the follow up below.

File Cover ANM Acc. No.1957/0160108W

No. 297/11

Public Works Department FMS

Director’s Office

Federal Drawing Office

Kuala Lumpur 20th October, 1911

Sir, I have the honour to request to be allowed to resign my seat on the Sanitary Board, Kuala Lumpur. My reasons being that I do not approve of the change of arrangements introduced by the Acting Chairman in dealing with plans submitted by building owners for the approval of the Board.

2. When Mr. Hose was Chairman the plans were examined by the Health Officer and Executive Engineer and were then discussed in Committee by the Chairman, Health Officers, Executive Engineer and myself. Mr. Douglas has altered this arrangement and the plans are examined by himself and the Health Officer then passed to me; the plans are no longer discussed in Committee as before; the Executive Engineer, who is the proper person to pass these plans from the structural point is left out of this so called Building Committee. I have protested against this system and have been informed by the Chairman that “The Health Officer and I are quite satisfied with the system”.

3. I shall be obliged if you will forward this letter to the British Resident, Selangor asking that my resignation as a member of the Board may be accepted.

I have the honour to be,


Your obedient servant

sd/ A.B. Hubback

Government Architect, FMS


Sanitary Board Offices,

Kuala Lumpur

24 October, 11

S.B 2973/11

Reports that the Government Architect Mr. A. B. Hubback has declined to deal with plans.

Sir, I have the honour to report the action of the Government Architect for the consideration of the Resident.

2. When I came here I found it was the practice for plans for new buildings or alterations to be checked by the Clerk of Works who on the Saturday before the meeting took them to the Executive Engineer shewed them to him and on Monday took them to the Health Officer who brought them up before the Plans Committee immediately after the Board meeting.

3. The members of the Plan Committee were the Chairman, Health Officer, Executive Engineer and Government Architect.

4. In this system it will be seen that neither the Chairman nor the Government Architect saw the plans till they were placed before the Committee -and as some 20-30 plans were to be considered, it was impossible to go into them all carefully and thoroughly.

5. At the committee meeting I suggested that we should adopt the system in force in Perak whereby the plans are circulated in minute papers as they are received and each member has an opportunity of stating his objections or approval in writing - when they return to the Chairman with whom the decision rests. Mr. Hubback was present and agreed to the suggestion and I brought it up at the Board meeting at the same time reduced the number of the Committee to 3 viz.: Chairman, Health Officer and Government Architect so as to avoid delay in circulating the papers with the plans. The board agreed – Mr. Hubback was there at the time.

6. In correspondence 1856/11 which I attach for your perusal, Mr. Hubback first of all corrects the Clerk of Works though as a matter of fact the latter is right and Mr. Hubback wrong and then states that the system is unsatisfactory.

7. So far as I can gather from his remarks he wishes the final decision to rest with himself, but all committees work on the lines that he majority shall decide disputed points and if the Health Officer and Chairman are in agreement we can overrule his objections. – he has stated his opinion in writing and the responsibility of not accepting his recommendations rests with me as Chairman.

Mr. Hubback has now returned all papers sent to him with the remark “I must decline to deal with any more plans I have already protested that this is the work of the Executive Engineer who is an official of the Board appointed for that purpose”. Mr. Hubback appears to overlook the fact that he is appointed an official of the Board because he is an architect and so that the Board may have the benefit of his advice as such.

I have the honor to be,


Your obedient servant.

FW Douglas

Ag. Chairman

Sanitary Board, Kuala Lumpur


Extracts from file: Resignation of Mr. A.B Hubback as a member of the K. Lumpur San. Bd.

Ref. No: 674/11

Date: 20.10.1911

From: D. PW (Director of Public Works) Venue: K. Lumpur

(ANM 1957/0160108W)

I fail to see why the Ex. Eng. has been left out of the Plans Committee. He and the H.O are two responsible executive officers and the G.A only acts in an advisory capacity as a member of the Board.

2. I gather that all plans whether in accordance with the By Laws or not have to be brought before the Plans C-es. This is (xxlining?) unnecessary work for the C-es as the passing of allowed plans is purely formal. The circulation of plans enables them to be (gone?) into more thoroughly but where there is an objection to any plan it should to be considered at a meeting of the Committee and not decided on written opinions only.

3. I hope Mr. Hubback will reconsider his resignation as from the 1st Dec next a 2nd grade Ex. Eng. will be appointed for S.B. duties only one of whose duties will be the examination of plans.


(Either British Resident or his Secretary)

The G.A. if he remains as member of the Board of should also be a member of the Plans C.Ex. All that is necessary is to add the Ex. Eng. to the Committee.

(Either British Resident or his Secretary)



Mr. Hubback’s withdrawal may be accepted?




(Either British Resident or his Secretary)




G.A Government Architect

H.O Health Officer

Ex. Eng: Executive Engineer

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