This was an appeal by the Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (Keda)/ the Appellant/ the Defendant against the decision of the then learned Judicial Commissioner (JC) allowing the claim of the Plaintiff/ Respondent essentially for a declaration that the termination of the Plaintiff’s services by Keda was invalid, that she be given a permanent employee status by Keda effective from 9.9.2008 and general and exemplary damages.
 In these Grounds, we will refer the Respondent as the Plaintiff and the Appellant as “Keda”.
B. BRIEF FACTS:
 Vide Letter of Offer of Employment dated 9.10.2006 (Letter of Offer) (P2), Keda appointed the Plaintiff as a Grade W41 Auditor effective from 16.11.2006. As part of the conditions of the offer, the plaintiff was placed on probation for one to three years.
 The Plaintiff’s probation was extended for the first time from 16.11.2009 to 15.11.2010 (first extension) as she had failed to obtain the recommendation from her Head of Departure (the requirement).
 Two more extensions were given to the Plaintiff-from 3.12.2010 to 2.12.2011 (second extension); and from 3.12.2011 to 2.6.2012 (Third extension)-due to the same failure to fulfil the requirement.
 On 10.7.2012, Keda terminated the Plaintiff’s employment with one month salary (in lieu of one month’s notice) based on the following reasons:
6.1 failure to fulfil the requirement; and
6.2 she had served for a period of 5 years without being confirmed.
 On 28.2.2011, before the expiry of the 3rd extension, the Plaintiff filed this civil suit in the Alor Setar High Court.
 It was Keda’s case that-
8.1 confirmation of the Plaintiff’s services was subject to the terms and conditions of the Letter of Offer, which included the need to obtain the recommendation (perakuan) from the Head of Department;
8.2 Keda had the right to terminate the Plaintiff’s employment seeing that the Plaintiff was an officer who had not been confirmed in service; and
8.3 there was no duty on the part of Keda to provide any explanation as to why the Head of Department did not give the requisite recommendation.
 In allowing the Plaintiff’s claim, the learned JC made the following orders:
9.1 declaration that Keda’s termination of the Plaintiff’s service as Grade W41 Auditor, due to the failure to obtain the recommendation from the Head of Department, was null and void;
9.2 confirmation of the Plaintiff as Grade W41 Auditor effective from 9.9.2008;
9.3 cancellation of the Head of Department’s instructions on the stopping of the movement of the Plaintiff’s annual salary;
9.4 adjustment of the Plaintiff’s salary from the period the Plaintiff’s salary movement was stopped until the termination;
9.5 general and exemplary damages of RM200,000.00; and
9.6 costs of RM8,000.00.
 Keda now appealed against that Order/ decision.
C. BEFORE THE HIGH COURT:
 The learned JC had addressed 3 issues before her as follows:
11.1 whether the Head of Department was required to give his recommendation for the purpose of confirmation in the post;
11.2 whether the Head of Department was required to state the reasons/ grounds to the Plaintiff as to why she was not given the recommendation for her confirmation before the appointing authority;
11.3 whether Keda was entitled to terminate the Plaintiff’s services upon her failure to obtain the recommendation from the Head of Department for the purpose of her confirmation in her post.
 On the first issue, the learned JC acknowledged the fact that the Letter of Offer P2, paragraph 4 had stipulated the conditions for admission of the Plaintiff into service, amongst others, to undergo a period of one to three years of probation and subject to confirmation in service other fulfilling condition in paragraph 4(a) and be recommended by the Head of Department.
 On the second and third issues, the learned JC found that Keda had failed to inform the Plaintiff the reasons the recommendation was not given to the Plaintiff for the confirmation of her service. This failure therefore amounted to a failure to follow the principle of “procedural fairness” as laid down in this Court’s decision in Hong Leong Equipment Sdn. Bhd v Liew Fook Chuan and another appeal  1 CLJ 665. The learned JC was further of the view that the termination of the Plaintiff’s services was a breach of Article 5 of the Federal Constitution (the Constitution) as the Plaintiff was only reprimanded by Keda/ SD2 during a public assembly, instead of calling the Plaintiff in private to be reprimanded or for guidance.
 As for the exemplary and aggravated damages of RM200,000.00 awarded to the Plaintiff by the learned JC, the learned JC was of the view that Keda could not raise this issue as being contrary to Order 18 rule 12(1A) of the Rules of Court 2012 (ROC) since Keda did not plead this issue in its Statement of Defence.
 As we have stated earlier, the learned JC therefore allowed the Plaintiff’s claim.
D. DECISION OF THE COURT:
 Before proceeding to consider this appeal, it behoved us to lay out the conditions of service imposed on the Plaintiff in the Letter of Offer (P2). They are as follows:
“ Syarat-syarat Perkhidmatan
4. Perlantikan tuan/ puan adalah dikenakan syarat-syarat perkhidmatan seperti berikut:-
(a) Berkhidmat dalam tempoh percubaan selama satu hingga tiga tahun. Dalam tempoh percubaan ini, tuan/ puan adalah dikehendaki:-
Hadir dengan jayanya Kursus Induksi dan Lulus Peperiksaan Perkhidmatan yang ditetapkan sebelum disahkan dalam perkhidmatan.
(b) Tertakluk kepada pengesahan dalam perkhidmatan setelah memenuhi syarat 4(a) serta diperakukan oleh Ketua Jabatan/ Perkhidmatan;
(c) Sebelum disahkan dalam perkhidmatan, tuan/ puan diberi opsyen sama ada memilih Skim Pencen atau Skim Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) oleh Ketua Jabatan/ Perkhidmatan;
(d) Tuan/puan layak mendapat cuti mengikut peraturan-peraturan yang berkuatkuasa dari semasa ke semasa;
(e) Perkhidmatan tuan/ puan boleh ditamatkan sekiranya gagal disahkan dalam tempoh percubaan mengikut peraturan-peraturan yang berkuatkuasa dari semasa ke semasa;
(f) Tuan/ puan boleh diberhentikan daripada jawatan bila-bila masa selepas diberi sebulan notis atau sebagai ganti notis dibayar sebulan gaji bersih, dengan tidak diberi sebarang sebab. Tuan/puan juga berhak beletak jawatan dengan memberi sebulan notis ataupun sebagai ganti notis membayar balik sebulan gaji bersih. Setelah tuan/puan disahkan dalam jawatan, notis yang dikehendaki bagi kedua-dua pihak ialah 3 bulan atau sebagai ganti notis membayar sebulan gaji bersih;
(g) Tuan/ puan dikehendaki menjalani kursus latihan yang ditetapkan oleh Ketua Jabatan/ Perkhidmatan;
(h) Pergerakan gaji adalah tidak automatic dan akan ditetapkan oleh Ketua Jabatan/ Perkhidmatan berdasarkan prestasi kecemerlangan perkhidmatan;
(i) Tuan/puan boleh diarah berkhidmat di mana-mana tempat oleh Kerajaan.
(j) Sebagai seorang kakitangan Lembaga ini, tuan/ puan tertakluk kepada Perintah-Perintah Am Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA), Skim Perkhidmatan, Pekeliling/ Surat Pekelilung, Peraturan-Peraturan Pentadbiran yang berkuatkuasa dari semasa ke semasa mengenai kerja, kelakuan dan syarat perkhidmatan pegawai-pegawai dalam perkhidmatan Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA);
(k) Tuan/ puan juga diwajibkan mengisythiharkan semua pemilikan harta tuan/ puan, isteri dan anak kepada Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA) tidak lewat dari tiga (3) bulan selepas tarikh melapor diri;
(l) Tuan/ puan adalah tertakluk kepada syarat-syarat lain yang ditambah atau dipinda dari semasa ke semasa.”
 Of relevance to this appeal are conditions 4(a), (b), (e) and (f), that is-
17.1 the Plaintiff was required to serve on probation for one to three years during which time she was to attend successfully the Induction Course and pass the Service Examination which had been determined before she could be confirmed in service;
17.2 be subject to her confirmation in service after she had fulfilled condition 4(a) as well as be recommended by her Head of Department/ Service;
17.3 if the Plaintiff failed to be confirmed during the probation period, her services could be terminated;
17.4 the Plaintiff’s services could be terminated at any time after a month’s notice had been given or be given a month’s salary in lieu of notice and without any reason be given.
 In accepting the conditions laid down in the Letter of Offer, the Plaintiff had clearly accepted the conditions imposed, in particular, that she was required to obtain the recommendation of her Head of Department before she could be confirmed in her post as an Auditor. In respect of her 3-year probation period, the Plaintiff’s Head of Department (SD2) had this to say in regard to his recommendation of the Plaintiff (P18A)-
“Bahagian B: SOKONGAN PERAKUAN OLEH PENGURUS BESAR
1.1 Pegawai di atas
TELAH/ TIDAK menjalankan tugas-tugasnya dengan jujur dan bertanggungjawab dan saya BERPUASHATI/ TIDAK BERPUASHATI dengan perkhidmatannya dan juga sifat peribadi, perangai dan kelakuan; dan
1.2 Dengan ini saya
MENYOKONG/ TIDAK MENYOKONG untuk mengesahkan pegawai di atas dalam jawatannya mulai tarikh yang dicadangkan.
(Tandatangan & Cop Rasmi)
*Semasa menjalankan tugas di bawah pengawasan saya, pegawai ini telah gagal melaksanakan tugas dan tanggungjawab sebagai Ketua Audit Dalam, dan beliau juga didapati kurang berbincang dan membuat laporan mengenai apa-apa tindakan yang beliau lakukan.”
On 26.10.2009, again the Head of Department repeated the first part of his non-recommendation as stated before this (P18B), and added the following remarks:
“Saya tidak berpuashati dengan prestasi dan tingkahlaku pegawai ini. Berdasarkan prestasi tahun 2008 serta perkara-perkara yang pegawai ini lakukan seperti lapuran-lapuran yang dikeluarkan dan kemukakan tanpa terlebih dahulu merujuk kepada ketua jabatan, lapuran yang tidak berdasarkan fakta yang lengkap dan teliti, telah menjejaskan imej dan keharmonian organisasi.”
 Due to the non-recommendation by her Head of Department, the Plaintiff was given the first extension of her probation period from 16.11.2009 to 15.11.2010. Again, on 17.10.2010, her Head of Department gave the same non-recommendation report against the Plaintiff as before (P18C) and added the following remarks:
“Saya masih belum berpuashati dengan prestasi kerja beliau sebelum ini. Beliau perlu berusaha meningkatkan prestasi kerja beliau pada masa hadapan.”
 Upon that non-recommendation, the Plaintiff was given the second extension of her probation period from 3.12.2010 to 2.12.2011. Here again, on 26.9.2011, her Head of Department gave the same non-recommendation report against the Plaintiff as before (P18D) and added the following remarks:
“Berdasarkan kepada pengamatan dan pengawasan saya, pegawai ini masih tidak menunjukkan perubahan sikap dan peningkatan prestasi kerja. Oleh itu saya tidak dapat mempertimbangkan beliau untuk disahkan dalam jawatan.”
 Once again, upon the non-recommendation by her Head of Department, the Plaintiff was given the third extension of her probation period from 3.12.2011 to 2.6.2012. Her Head of Department on 20.6.2012 gave the same non-recommendation report against the Plaintiff as before with the following added remarks:
“Sepanjang tempoh 6 bulan pelanjutan tempoh percubaan pegawai ini, hasil pengamatan dan pengawasan, saya telah mendapat pegawai masih tidak menunjukkan perubahan sikap dan mutu kerja yang positif. Pegawai masih gagal meningkatkan prestasi kerja secara berpasukan dalam organisasi. Terdapat beberapa aduan oleh pegawai-pegawai lain berkenaan pegawai ini dan siasatan dalaman mendapati aduan-aduan yang diterima adalah berasas. Sehubungan itu, saya masih tidak dapat mempertimbangkan pegawai ini untuk disahkan ke dalam jawatan.”
 Based on the above facts alluded to, the Plaintiff had failed to obtain her Head of Department’s recommendation that she be confirmed in her post and by that means she had failed to fulfil condition 4(b) of the Letter of Offer and her services was terminated with one month’s salary in lieu of notice. That should have been the end of the matter. But the learned JC found that since Keda had failed to inform the Plaintiff the reasons the recommendation was not forthcoming from the Head of Department, that failure amounted to a failure of “procedural fairness” as laid down in Hong Leong Equipment (supra) and that the termination of the Plaintiff’s service was had in law.
 It was submitted by Keda that Hong Leong Equipment was not relevant to this case as it concerns termination of employment of a person whose service had already been confirmed by his employer, whereas in our case the Plaintiff was still on probation. Reference was made to this Court’s decision in Abdul Rauf Alip v Suruhanjaya Pasukan Polis & Anor  1 CLJ 1 where, Gopal Sri Ram (JCA) (as he then was) in delivering the judgment of the Court, at page 4, held-
“In our view the present appeal is already covered by high authority which is binding upon us. It is the decision of the Privy Council in Government of Malaysia v Lionel  1 MLJ 3 (PC). That was a case involving a temporary officer who was on contract to serve the second respondent in that appeal. He had been served with a letter to show cause, not dissimilar from that issued to the appellant in the present instance. Lionel argued that he had been wrongfully dismissed contrary to art. 135(2) of the Federal Constitution which requires a reasonable opportunity to be given to a civil servant before his dismissal. At first instance Syed Othman J, a judge for whose decisions this court has much respect, held that Lionel was not dismissed at all and that his was a case of termination simpliciter in accordance with the terms and conditions of his contract of service. Lionel then appealed to the Federal Court which held that there had been a breach of art. 135(2) and that the provisions of the Constitution could not be contracted out of-see  2 MLJ 172 at p 173. Accordingly the Federal Court reversed Syed Othman J. The Government of Malaysia then appealed to the Privy Council which reversed the Federal Court judgment and restored the judgment at first instance.
The advice of the Board on that occasion was delivered by Viscount Dilhorne who said at p. 5:
Under English law a servant may be summarily dismissed for disobedience to orders or misconduct or may have his employment terminated by notice or the payment of wages in lieu of notice. Under the laws of Malaysia a similar distinction between dismissal and termination of services appears to exist and in their Lordships’ opinion there is nothing in the Constitution which affects the right of the Government to terminate temporary employment in accordance with the terms of the engagement. Their Lordships do not agree with Ong CJ that Regulation 36 is to be regarded as invalid as inconsistent with the Constitution. (emphasis added.)
We are bound by this statement of principle. It applies squarely to the facts of the present appeal. If Lionel could not succeed, we can hardly see how the present appellant can.
We could only make this further observation. This is a case of a probationer. And the law has always recognized a distinction between a probationer and a permanent employee, be it in the public or private sector.”
 For her part, the Plaintiff submitted that since she had successfully complied with the terms and conditions of appointment to the post of Grade W41, when she completed 3 years of probation period during which she had successfully completed the Induction Course, passed the Public Service Examination and attended the Biro Tata Negara course, in addition to undergoing a further 2-year probation period, she was entitled to her claim. That given a proper interpretation of conditions 4(a), (b) and (e) of the Letter of Offer, it was incumbent on the Head of Department/SD2 to confirm the Plaintiff’s service upon compliance of condition 4(a) by the Plaintiff. Alternatively, it was argued that the failure of the Head of Department to convey to the Plaintiff the reasons for not confirming her to the post, resulting in the termination of her service by Keda, was procedurally unfair to the Plaintiff and therefore the termination was of no effect based on Hong Leong Equipment (supra).
 We were of the view that a plain reading of conditions 4(a), (b) and (e) conveys the meaning that the Plaintiff’s appointment was subject to the conditions of service as enumerated in paragraphs 4(a) to (l) where all the conditions are to be read conjunctively. Therefore, by virtue of condition 4(b), the Plaintiff was required to obtain the recommendation of her Head of Department in order to be confirmed in her post, which she failed to obtain despite three extensions of probation period being given to her. She had therefore breached her condition of employment and her employment was correctly terminated by Keda vide letter of termination dated 10.7.2012(P20) with effect from 15.7.2012.
 With regard to the issue of Keda not complying with the principle of “procedural fairness” vis the Plaintiff in not informing her the reasons the recommendation was not given by the Head of Department, we agreed with the submission of Keda that this principle in Hong Leong Equipment (supra) does not apply to this case seeing that the Plaintiff was a probationer at all material times and she was subject to the conditions in the Letter of Offer. We agreed with the submission of Keda that the case of Abdul Rauf Alip (supra) applied to this case.
 In any event, we were of the view that the learned JC had failed to fully appreciate the testimony of SD2 when he stated as follows in his witness statement:
“S10. Boleh Dato jelaskan kepada Mahkamah yang mulia ini, Dato’ sebagai Pengurus Besar dan juga Ketua Jabatan di Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA), bagaimana Dato’ menegur orang bawahan termasuklah Puan Nur Dini Binti Mohd Noh sekiranya Dato’ mendapati terdapatnya sikap atau tindakan para pegawai/ pekerja bawahan tersebut tidak menunjukkan prestasi yang baik dalam menjalankan tugas mereka di Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA)?
J. Seperti amalan yang saya praktikan nasihat, terguran dan amaran kepada para pekerja/ pegawai bawahan saya termasuklah Puan Nur Dini Binti Mohd Noh akan saya sampaikan ketika di dalam Perhimpunan Bulanan, Mesyuarat Pengurusan dan arahan kepada Pegawai yang menguruskan Bahagian Pentadbiran dan Sumber Manusia untuk memperbaiki sikap atau/ dan tindakan mereka dalam menjalankan tugas-tugas mereka di Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA).
Tambahan, saya juga sentiasa menggalakkan para pegawai/ pekerja bawahan termasuklah Puan Nur Dini Binti Mohd Noh untuk datang berjumpa dengan saya untuk bertanyakan apa sahaja berkaitan permasalahan mereka semasa menjalankan tugas mereka di Lembaga Wilayah Kedah (KEDA).
S11. Sepanjang Dato’ menjawat jawatan sebagai Pengurus Besar dan Ketua Jabatan di Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA), adakah terdapat mana-mana pekerja/ pegawai yang datang berjumpa Dato’ secara bertentangan empat mata sebaik sahaja Dato’ membuat nasihat, teguran dan amaran ke atas para pegawai/ pekerja bawahan Dato’ di Perhimpunan Bulanan, Mesyuarat Pengurusan dan arahan kepada Pegawai yang menguruskan Bahagian Pentadbiran untuk Sumber Manusia?
J. Ya, ada para pegawai/ pekerja yang datang untuk berjumpa saya untuk bertanyakan secara lebih lanjut berkaitan nasihat, teguran dan amaran yang telah dibuat oleh saya di dalam Perhimpunan Bulanan, Mesyuarat Pengurusan dan arahan kepada Pegawai yang menguruskan Bahagian Pentadbiran dan Sumber Manusia.
S12. Merujuk kepada Puan Nur Dini Binti Mohd. Noh, adakah beliau ada datang sendiri untuk berjumpa Dato’ berkaitan apa-apa nasihat, teguran dan amaran yang telah Dato’ berikan sepanjang Perhimpunan Bulanan, Mesyuarat Pengurusan dan arahan kepada Pegawai yang menguruskan Bahagian Pentadbiran dan Sumber Manusia yang telah diadakan tersbut?
J. Tidak pernah.
S14. Adakah Puan Nur Dini Binti MohdNoh ada datang berjumpa dengan Dato sebagai Ketua Jabatannyabertanyakansebab-sebab beliau tidak mendapat sokongan dari Dato’ sebagai Ketua Jabatannya dalam pengesahan jawatannya sebagai Juruaudit Gred W41 di Lembaga Kemajuan Wilayah Kedah (KEDA)?
J. Tiada samada secara lisan atau bertulis.”
 Based on his testimony, we were of the view that the Plaintiff’s Head of Department/ SD2 did give her advice, comments and warnings on her work performance, albeit not directly. If the Plaintiff had been really concerned about not being able to obtain the Head of Department’s recommendation throughout her probation and extended probation periods, we would have expected her to be more proactive in inquiring about it from the Head of Department himself. After all, other employees had seen if fit to approach the Head of Department to ask for clarification in respect of any advice, comments and warnings made by him during monthly assembly, meetings and directives issued, and yet the Plaintiff chose to remain silent and unconcerned until she chose to raise this complaint (of not being told the reasons why the recommendation was not given by the Head of Department) when she filed this suit, blaming Keda for something that she herself had failed to do.
 Instead, the learned JC made the following findings:
“ Plaintif juga mengakui bahawa beliau tidak pernah dipanggil oleh majikannya untuk diberi teguran atau tunjuk ajar. Mahkamah yakin bahawa sekiranya Defendan (SD1 dan SD2) memaklumkan teguran yang tercatat di Ekshibit P18A, P18B, P18C dan P18D, Plaintif akan memperbaiki kelemahan dirinya untuk mendapatkan pengesahan daripada Ketua Jabatannya. Mahkamah mendapati dalam keadaan kes Plaintif yang melibatkan pelanjutan tempoh percubaan, tindakan Defendan membuat teguran semasa perhimpunan secara umum adalah tidak mencukupi dan tidak wajar dan tidak adil kerana tidak menurut peruntukan undang-undang yang diperuntukkan dan tindakan itu bertentangan dengan hak Plaintif yang dilindung di bawa Perkara 5 Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
 Maka adalah menjadi tugas Defendan dapat memaklumkan Plaintif akan ulasan dan teguran itu supaya Plaintif dapat menambahbaik prestasi kerjaya sebagaimana yang ditegur oleh Ketua Jabatannya. Plaintif hanya mengetahui alasan kenapa beliau tidak disahkan dalam jawatannya setelah kes ini dibawa ke Mahkamah.”
We were of the view that had the learned JC directed her mind properly to the evidence adduced she would not have seriously misdirected herself into finding that Keda was to be solely held liable for not informing the Plaintiff the reasons for her not being recommended to be confirmed. The learned JC did not state how she was certain (“yakin”) that had SD1 and SD2 informed the Plaintif of the remarks by SD2 in P18A, P18B, P18C and P18D, the Plaintiff would have improved her work performance. It would appear to us it was mere conjecture on the learned JC’s part when she made this “finding” seeing that there was hardly any explanation given by the Plaintiff on how, after five years of being on probation her performance had not improved and her reception of the SD2’s advice, comments and warnings on the occasions as stated before this. We were further of the view that the application of Article 5 of the Constitution in this context was misconceived as the termination of the Plaintiff’s service was purely on the basis of breach of contractual terms by the Plaintiff and did not involve the deprivation of her life nor personal liberty within the meaning of Article 5 of the Constitution.
 Further, it was submitted by Keda that the Plaintiff’s employment could be terminated by Keda at any time by one month’s notice or a month’s salary in lieu of the said notice without the need to give any reasons, as provided under condition 4(f) of the Letter of Offer. Vide letter dated 10.7.2012 (P20) Keda had terminated the Plaintiff’s employment with effect from 15.7.2012 with one month’s salary in lieu of one month’s notice. Therefore it was contended that the termination of the Plaintiff’s probationary employment with Keda was valid. Based on Abdul Rauf Alip’s case (supra), which had referred to the Privy Council decision on Government of Malaysia v Lionel  1 MLJ 3, we were in agreement with Keda that by virtue of condition 4(f) of the Letter of Offer, Keda had every right to terminate the Plaintiff’s contract of employment as a probationer without assigning any reason for the termination (but in this case Keda did give reason for the termination) by paying one month’s salary in lieu of notice.
 In view of the above, we unanimously allowed this appeal with costs of RM20,000.00 to Keda for here and below. We set aside the Order of the High Court dated 14.2.2013. Deposit was refunded. We found the termination of the Plaintiff’s employment was consistent with the terms of the Letter of Offer. In view of our finding, it was unnecessary for us to deliberate on the issue of confirmation of the Plaintiff in her post retrospectively and the granting of general and exemplary damages raised by Keda.
UMI KALTHUM BINTI ABDUL MAJID
Court of Appeal Malaysia