Victims’ families of the Batang Kali Massacre are outraged that the British Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence declined their request for an out of court discussion with a sensible view to settle the 6-decades historical wrong once and for all before the appeal hearing scheduled on 25 November 2013.
The families have since 12 December 2012, on the 64th anniversary of the massacre, instructed their London solicitors, Bindmans, to write to the British Minister’s solicitors making proposal for talks to seek a viable settlement of this dispute, which terms of settlement would include acceptance of the London Divisional Court’s findings; withdrawal of the official account; an apology; the funding of a memorial garden at Batang Kali for the victims; and reasonable and modest financial compensation for the families.
The request by the families has been endorsed by 10,000 individual who had signed postcards, British and Malaysian MPs, International NGOs such as Amnesty, Reprieve and Minority Rights Group and Malaysian NGOs, all demanding that responsibility be taken and redress be offered.
Despite numerous reminders and the UK Court of Appeal granting an interim stay to enable the proposed talks to take place, there has been no substantive response until 10 months later. On last Thursday, 24 October, British Ministers through their solicitors told the families that they decline to talk for any possible settlement and the Ministers are remain fully committed to pursue their cross-appeal that Sultan Selangor or Federation of Malaya, instead of British Government, should be the one who was responsible for the killing during the material time.
The families are outraged by the British Ministers slamming door on their face. Such attitude blatantly displayed by the British Ministers is contradicting to the shared values between the British and Malaysian where access to justice and the rule of law are available to everyone.
“We appeal direct to the consciences of those at very highest levels of government in the UK and Malaysia, because British Ministers have shown themselves to be unwilling to talk, or listen”, said Lim Kok, one of the victims’ family whose father was beheaded during the massacre.
Families’ lawyer, John Halford is appalled with the British Ministers’ unreasonable approach in slamming the door for discussion. “When visiting Malaysia last year, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron spoke of the ‘shared values’ of the UK and Malaysia – values that included ‘citizenship that means access to justice and the rule of law is available to everyone’. Yet his very own ministers are denying that justice to the dead of Batang Kali and their surviving families”, said John Halford.
Notwithstanding the hiccup, the families and the Committee are not going to give up, and will continue the journey to justice, which was started by the families’ first generation one week after the massacre in 1948. While the lawyers are preparing relentlessly for the appeal hearing, the Committee is launching a social media campaign today, in connection with the Committee’s proposal to establish a Batang Kali Massacre Memorial Garden which is to be erected beside the Ulu Yam Bahru Kwang Dong Cemetery, Batang Kali, the place where the massacre’s victims were buried.
This social media campaign uses the platform of Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+ and etc to create public awareness of this cold blood massacre. The use of these media also aims at drawing the attention of the Prime Minister as well as Members of Parliament of both Malaysia and UK.
“We hope that there will be more righteousness politicians, civic society activists and the public come forward and send representation to the very highest levels of government in both UK and Malaysia for a just resolution to be reached for this outright historical wrong” say the Campaign Coordinator, Quek Ngee Meng
The Facebook page of this campaign has an extensive contents including a series of posting with regards to the chronology and progress development of the case of the Batang Kali Massacre. The links of the social media are as follow:-
UNITED KINGDOM MALAYSIA
BINDMANS LLP, HALIM HONG & QUEK (Adv & Sol)
275 Gray’s Inn Road, Suite 9-8, Lobby B, Wisma UOA II
London WC1X 8QB 21 Jln Pinang KL 50450
TEL: 44 (0)20 7833 4433 Tel: 60 3 2710 3818
JOHN HALFORD QUEK NGEE MENG
1. Settlement along similar lines have been reached between the Dutch Government and the survivors of the Indonesia Rawagede massacre that took place in Indonesia on 9 December 1947 and between the British Government and those who survived torture in internment camps in Kenya during the Mau Mau rebellion of 1952 to 1960. There are many other precedents, including the 15 June 2010 apology for Bloody Sunday which was followed earlier this year with compensation offered to the affected families
2. UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech can be found via https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/david-cameron-with-the-prime-minister-of-malaysia