IN THE COURT OF APPEAL, MALAYSIA AT PUTRAJAYA (APPELLATE JURISDICTION)
CIVIL APPEAL NO: P-02(IM)-2937-12/2012
1. FIROS BIN ABDUL JALIL Sebagai Pentadbir Estet Abdul Jalil Bin Idrus (Simati)
2. ABU BAKAR BIN IDRUS
3. IBRAHIM BIN IDRUS
4. NORIEN BINTI ABDULLAH Sebagai Wakil Diri Estet Muhammad Ruslan Bin Idrus (Simati)
5. MUHAMMAD RUSLI BIN IDRUS
6. NOR FODZIAH BINTI IDRUS
7. NORISHAH BINTI IDRUS – APPELLANTS
1. KEWIRA JAYA SDN BHD (131685-P)
2. SP SETIA BERHAD
3. MESSRS RAJA ELEENA SIEW ANG & ASSOCIATES
(Disaman sebagai firma) – RESPONDENTS
(In the Matter of High Court of Malaya at Pulau Pinang Civil No: 22-559-2010)
1. Kewira Jaya Sdn Bhd (131685-P)
2. SP Setia Berhad – Plaintiffs
1. Firos Bin Abdul Jalil Sebagai Pentadbir Estet Abdul Jalil Bin Idrus (Simati)
2. Abu Bakar Bin Idrus
3. Ibrahim Bin Idrus
4. Noreom Binti Abdullah
Sebagai Wakil Diri Estet Muhammad Ruslan Bin Idrus (Simati)
5. Muhammad Rusli Bin Idrus
6. Nor Fodziah Binti Idrus
7. Norishah Binti Idrus
8. Messrs Raja Eleena Siew Ang & Associates
(Disaman sebagai firma) – Defendants
AZIAH ALI, JCA
ANANTHAM KASINATHER, JCA TENGKU MAIMUN TUAN MAT, JCA
JUDGMENT OF THE COURT
 The appellants are the 1st to the 7th defendants in the High Court. The 1st and the 2nd respondents are the plaintiffs. The 1st respondent is a subsidiary of the 2nd respondent. The 2nd respondent was not originally a party to the suit but was added as the 2nd plaintiff pursuant to an order of the Court of Appeal dated 6.8.2012, allowing the plaintiff’s application to amend the statement of claim. In allowing the amendment, the Court of Appeal made an order that parties are at liberty to make consequential amendments arising from the addition of the 2nd plaintiff. The 3rd respondent was the 8th defendant in the court below.
 The plaintiffs alleged that the 1st to the 7th defendants had agreed to sell and the plaintiffs had agreed to purchase certain pieces of lands in the state of Pulau Pinang for a price of RM25,396,613.02. The 8th defendant was the solicitors acting for the 1st to the 7th defendants in the sale and purchase transaction. The plaintiffs had caused a sum of RM2,539,661.30 being 10% of the purchase price to be deposited with the 8th defendant to be held as stakeholders pending completion of the sale and purchase. Despite the payment of the deposit, the 1st to the 7th defendants had failed to execute the formal sale and purchase agreement.
 The plaintiffs filed a suit in the High Court seeking for a declaration that there is a valid and subsisting contract between the plaintiffs and the 1st to the 7th defendants for the sale and purchase of the lands; for specific performance of the contract and alternatively for damages for breach of contract in addition to or in
lieu of specific performance. As against the 8th defendant, the plaintiffs claim is for an account of the interest of the 10% deposit. Alternatively the plaintiffs’ claim against all the defendants is for a declaration that the contract is discharged by reason of its repudiation by the 1st to the 7th defendants and for the repayment to the plaintiff of the 10% deposit.
 In the statement of defence and counterclaim, the 1 to the 7th defendants admitted that the 8th defendant represented them in the sale and purchase agreement and that the 1st to the 7th defendants accepted the offer made by the 2nd plaintiff subject to the execution of a formal agreement. The 1st to the 7th defendants further pleaded that the formal agreement could not be executed as parties could not agree on the final terms and conditions for the sale and purchase of the lands.
 After the statement of claim was amended pursuant to the order of the Court of Appeal to add the 2nd plaintiff and after the current solicitors acting for the 1st to the 7th defendants took over conduct of this matter, the 1st to the 7th defendants made an application to amend the statement of defence and counterclaim. Vide the amendment, the 1st to the 7th defendants seek to raise an additional or alternative defence that the 8th defendant, as their solicitors, had no authority to receive and accept the 2nd plaintiff’s offer to purchase their land.
 The learned Judicial Commissioner found that the application by the 1st to the 7th defendants to amend the statement of defence and counterclaim was not bona fide; would change the character of the defence and that it prejudices the 8th defendant who would be exposed to a suit for professional negligence (see para 3.11 of the proposed amended defence). The following are her reasons for dismissing the application:-
“(iii) cadangan pindaan tersebut telah mengubah pembelaan asal Defendan 1-7 di mana pengakuan defendan 1-7 yang menerima tawaran dari S.P. Setia (Plaintif 2) tetapi telah ditarik balik dengan memplid perjanjian jual beli tidak pernah dilaksanakan kerana tiada persetujuan berkenaan dengan terma-terma dan syarat perjanjian.
(iv) Peranan Defendan 8 sebagai pemegang amanah kepada Defendan 1-7 pada asalnya, kini dipinda dengan memplid Defendan 8 tiada kuasa untuk menerima tawaran bagi pihak Defendan 1-7 dan juga Defendan 8 dikatakan telah salah menasihati Defendan 1-7.
(v) Fakta-fakta lain seperti rundingan-rundingan di antara Plaintif 2 dan Defendan 1-7 mengenai urusan jual beli tanah tersebut sedia diketahui oleh Defendan 1-7 ..
 Berdasarkan alasan-alasan seperti dinyatakan, Mahkamah ini berpendapat, pindaan-pindaan yang dicadangkan tidak dibuat secara bona fide, sebaliknya adalah percubaan Defendan 1-7 untuk memperbaiki pembelaan Defendan 1-7 yang mana telah memprejudiskan Plaintif 1-2 dan juga Defendan 8. Rujuk kes Yamaha Motor Co Ltd v Yamaha Malaysia Sdn Bhd dan Tan Ngu v Seng Tat Properties Sdn Bhd.”
 Dissatisfied with the decision, 1st to the 7th defendants now appeal to the Court of Appeal.
 When the appeal came up before us for hearing, we were informed that by a consent order dated 20.2.2013, the claim against the 8th defendant has been struck out. A copy of the said consent order was produced for our perusal. The result of the consent order was that there are now only seven defendants in the main suit as the 8th defendant was no longer a party.
 Insofar as the appeal is concerned, the gist of the submission for the appellants was that the learned Judicial Commissioner erred in not allowing the amendment to the statement of defence and counterclaim when the application to amend was predominantly consequential to the amendment made by the plaintiff to add the 2nd plaintiff. However, we noted that there is no averment in the affidavit in support that the application is made consequent to the amendment of the statement of claim. The affidavit in support of the amendment affirmed by the 7th defendant states, inter alia:-
“4. Akan tetapi, apabila peguamcara saya, yang telah mengambil alih tindakan ini bagi pihak saya lebih kurang sebulan yang lalu, meneliti kesemua dokumen dan suratcara, mereka telah menasihati saya dan saya sesungguhnya percaya bahawa kami mempunyai satu pembelaan yang perlu dimasukkan ke dalam Pembelaan.
4.1 Ini adalah pembelaan bahawa Defendan Ke8 nampaknya daripada dokumen dan turutan peristiwa tiada kuasa
untuk memasuki satu perjanjian untuk pihak Defendan-defendan Pertama hingga Ke7.
4.2 Peguamcara saya menasihati saya dan saya sesungguhnya percaya juga bahawa terdapat beberapa perkara lagi butir-butir yang perlu diplid untuk menjelaskan fakta-fakta di dalam perkara ini.
4.3 Saya sesungguhnya percaya bahawa kesemua pindaan-pindaan ini berbangkit daripada turutan fakta yang sama atau sebahagian besarnya berbangkit daripada fakta yang sama dan berkenaan dengan relif yang dituntut di dalam tindakan ini …
5. Saya dinasihati oleh peguamcara saya dan sesungguhnya percaya bahawa Defendan Ke8 tiada kuasa untuk memasuki perjanjian dengan Plaintif-Plaintif …
 As propounded in Yamaha Motor Co Ltd v Yamaha Malaysia Sdn Bhd & Ors  1 MLJ 213, leave to amend the pleadings under Order 20 of the Rules of Court 2012 is within the discretion of a Judge which discretion must be exercised judiciously.
 It is a well settled principle that in matters involving the exercise of a discretion, the appellate court will work on the presumption that the learned judge has rightly exercised the discretion and that the appellate court will not interfere unless it is satisfied that the discretion has been exercised on a wrong principle or that there has been a miscarriage of justice.
 Having read the grounds of judgment, we are satisfied that the learned judicial commissioner had applied the correct principles in the exercise of her discretion. Her Ladyship had considered the relevant questions as stipulated in Yamaha Motor, supra in coming to her decision to dismiss the application.
 We agree with the learned judicial commissioner that the amendment changes the character of the defence and we find that the proposed amendment which was in respect of all the paragraphs except one, was not consequential. We therefore dismissed the appeal with costs and affirmed the order of the High Court. We wish to add that insofar as the 8th defendant was concerned, we were of the view that the circumstances that prevailed consequent to the consent order dated 20.2.2013 renders the proposed amended defence completely incongruous.
(DATO’ TENGKU MAIMUN BINTI TUAN MAT)
Court of Appeal, Malaysia Putrajaya
Dated: 10th May 2013
For the Appellants: Mr. V. Jeya Kumar, Mr. K. Shanmuga & Mr. Aston Paiva Messrs Kanesalingam & Co. Unit 3.3. Level 3, Wisma Bandar 18, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman 50100 Kuala Lumpur.
For the 1st and 2nd Respondent
For the 3rd Respondent: Ms. S. Bhuvaneswary Messrs Izral Partnership Suite 2001, 20th Floor Wisma Hamza KH No. 1, Leboh Ampang 50100 Kuala Lumpur. Ms. PH Cheah Messrs Raja Eleena Siew Ang & Associates 8, Jalan Delima, off Jalan Inai 55100 Kuala Lumpur.