1. Following the petitions submitted by the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre on both 25 March and 12 December 2008, the British High Commissioner, HE Boyd McCleary, being the representative of HM Queen Elizabeth II in Malaysia, has been directed to reply to the petitions on 21 January 2009.
2. The British Government claims that they have carefully considered the petitions and concludes that “in view of the findings of 2 previous investigations that there was insufficient evidence to pursue prosecutions in this case, and in the absence of any new evidence, regrettable we see no reason to reopen or start a fresh investigation.” It is understood that the 2 previous investigation referred to the 1949 and the 1970 investigations.
3. The Action Committee is disappointed and absolutely not convinced with the British Government reply because the latter has not taken into account the inherent unsatisfactory and incomplete nature of the previous 2 investigations. Instead, the British Government has taken into account an irrelevant consideration of pursuing criminal prosecution, which is not intended or demanded by the surviving families of the massacre.
4. There were 4 sworn statements from the soldiers involved confirming that they had misled the 1949 investigation. The soldiers admitted there was an intentional killing and the unarmed civilians were not trying to escape. The sworn statements were not rebutted. As such, the credibility of the 1949 investigation has been put into doubt.
5. As for the 1970 investigation, the then Director of Public Prosecution, who instructed to halt the 1970 investigation prematurely, admitted that there was a substantial conflict of evidence amongst the soldiers involved, and no statement or interview was ever taken from the Malaysian witnesses, such as the survival of the massacre, Chong Foong and his wife Tham Yong. In addition, no process of body exhumation and forensic examination were ever conducted. We submit that the 1970 investigation is incomplete and certainly inconclusive.
6. In view of the above, we can’t help but to conclude that the British Government has failed to read and consider the petitions submitted by the Action Committee carefully and with due weight. They have used the “1970 standard format reply”, which is obviously outdated. We have the statements from the Malaysian eye-witnesses. Further, the remains of the massacre were lying at the cemetery of Ulu Yam, Batang Kali. These are credible evidence for the case which have never been considered by the British authorities.
7. Let’s be very clear. The surviving families are not seeking any criminal trial of the soldiers
involved. They are requesting a thorough and an independent investigation via the setting up of
a public inquiry so that the historical truth can be discovered. The surviving families, who lost their
bread earners for the past 60 years, have been living in a dismal plight. It is only reasonable for
them to request an official apology, compensation and construction of a memorial for their love
ones from the authority who had committed an atrocity.
8. The surviving families’ lawyer in UK will write a formal letter to the British Government (known as Pre-Action Protocol letter) setting out the reasons that the decision taken by the British Government is unlawful, and inviting them to reconsider their position before we ensue with legal proceeding.
9. Meanwhile, the Action Committee will be seeking a meeting with the Malaysian representative of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for purpose of persuading the Malaysian MP to seek redress for the surviving families within the Commonwealth network.
10. We sincerely hope that in the interest of both UK and Malaysian community, the British Government will accede to the request of setting up a public inquiry on the Batang Kali massacre.
Quek Ngee Meng
Coordinator, Voluntary Lawyers
The Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre
30 January 2009