The taxi from the Penang Sungai Nibong Express Coach Terminus arrived at my Mum’s gate at 10.30pm yesterday. This was a return from one of my trips to Kuala Lumpur, for this year. It was a talk at the Bar Council in KL that drew me to make this trip, especially to listen to two British human rights lawyers who are now acting for the living relatives of 24 victims of a massacre by British Scots Guards in Batang Kali, Selangor, during the 1948 Malayan Emergency. The sharing started about 5pm till nearly past 9pm. The attendance wasn’t overwhelming, most of the audience being lawyers and members of the Bar, and a small sprinkling of others like me with an interest in such things, and to some extent a relevant background.
The talk was riveting, being the first time the relatives and descendants of victims of unjustified violence by ex-colonial authorities in Malaya have come forward to demand posthumous justice for their parents or grandparents. These people also want closure and their families cleared of the stigma of criminality imposed on their forebears. To all intents and purposes, these 24 men were unarmed farmers, gunned down in cold blood by British government troops apparently hunting down communists insurgents. The circumstances of the incident were that British Scots Guards entered the village of Batang Kali, rounded up men, women and children, separated them, sending women and children away into the town. They took the men aside, questioned and tortured them, then led them into the jungle and ‘executed’ them. Those are the facts in a nutshell.
The case had gone to the British High Court, that gave a recent decision supporting the families’ claims. The five points on which this decision turned are briefly :
a. The British Government, not the Sultan of Selangor, is and always has been legally responsible for the Scots Guards, their orders and the killings of 24 innocent men at Batang Kali in December 1948;
b. those killed were civilians not wearing any uniform, had no weapons and were a range of ages;
c. the majority of the Scots Guards interviewed by the British Police admitted that the killings were a murder;
d. it can no longer be permissible to maintain the “official account” that the 24 men were shot when trying to escape;
e. the 1948-9 inquiry by the then Attorney-General on which the official account was based, has very serious weaknesses, and there is evidence of a “cover up”, a public inquiry should have been properly considered in 1970, and British officials decided to positively block the 1990’s Royal Malaysian Investigation.
(Source: Signature Campaign Leaflet by the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre, September 2012)
Despite this court decision, the British government today still persists in upholding the false account and justification for the Batang Kali Massacre, and are going to the British Court of Appeal to appeal against the High Court decision. The Batang Kali Action Committee are holding a signature campaign to urge the British Government to tell the truth about these tragic events, recognize the killings as a criminal massacre of innocent, unarmed civilians, and put an end to the 64 year cover-up stigmatizing these victims of institutional violence as dangerous insurgents and terrorists whose deaths were allegedly justified.
I urge readers to support this signature campaign for the sake of justice, not only for the victims of this massacre, but to clearly show that ordinary people around the globe will not tolerate cover ups of unjustified governmental violence on innocent people.
Please use this web link to find out more about the Batang Kali Massacre and join the signature campaign : batangkalimassacre.wordpress.com.
Add your signature to the existing list, you will be helping to secure justice for the innocent.
May the Force be with you!
- Empire cover-up no surprise (morningstaronline.co.uk)