Signature Campaign Launched

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 20, 2008) : A signature campaign condemning the massacre of villagers in Batang Kali on Dec 12, 1948, today brought MCA and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leaders together.

The launch of the campaign at the Selangor & KL Chinese Assembly Hall today saw the presence of MCA’s Datuk Ong Tee Kiat, who is also the transport minister, and PKR’s Tian Chua.

The campaign seeks to urge the British Government to make an unreserved apology to the family members of the massacre, grant reasonable compensation to the families of the victims and to construct a memorial for the victims.

Speaking to theSun, Tian Chua said the campaign was not a Chinese issue but a concern for all Malaysians. “We (PKR) put aside all our differences (with BN) on this issue,” he said.

“I think the British public should be aware of their responsibility and their Government must assume responsibility for the massacre,” added Tian Chua.

Also present were members of various Chinese associations led by the action committee undertaking the campaign.

In the incident almost 60 years ago, 24 unarmed villagers were killed by the 7th Platoon, G Company of the 2nd Scots Guard, British Army, at a rubber estate in Sungei Rimoh in Batang Kali. Only one person survived the tragedy.


Chronology of events

>> The first report of the massacre appeared in the Straits Times on Dec 13, 1948 and on Nov 1, 1949, an official investigation was carried out by then Malayan Attorney-General, but it was never made public.

>> In 1970, an English newspaper ‘The People’ exposed the incident, condemning the massacre. The article mentioned that sworn statements from the British Army (ex-Scots Guard) indicated the villagers were shot dead despite them not fleeing and there was a conspiracy to mislead the inquiry in 1949.

>> In June 1970, the investigation was stopped by the UK’s Conservative Party when it came into power. The British Government felt there was insufficient evidence to look further into the massacre.

>> On Sept 9, 1992, a BBC documentary entitled ‘In Cold Blood’ aired in the UK revealed fresh evidence into the massacre. The documentary featured accounts of witnesses and survivors, including confessions of ex-Scots Guards.

>> On July 8, 1993, the MCA legal bureau submitted a petition to Queen Elizabeth II seeking justice.

A police report was lodged by three relatives of the victims accompanied by MCA Public Service Complaints bureau head Michael Chong on July 14, 1993.

>> In September 1993, the Foreign Affairs Office of UK stated that since there was no fresh evidence, there was no need to set up another official inquiry into the massacre.

>> On Dec 30, 1997 the file on the case was closed by Bukit Aman police which said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone.

>> In 2004, DAP raised the issue in Parliament and after waiting several years, the families of the survivors and victim, together with NGOs, set up the action committee.


Source: the Sun, 21/8/2008, by Tim Leonard



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