Lawyers in Malaysia and a UK based legal team led by Bindmans have responded to a government offer to reconsider its position on a public inquiry into the unexplained killing of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops in 1948 Colonial Malaya. The shift was prompted by a letter before claim sent on behalf of one of the massacre’s survivors, 78 year old Mrs Tham Yong. Her fiancé was one of these killed by the troops. The government has said it will be reconsidering its position on an inquiry, but not when a decision will be made nor whether reparations, which Mrs Tham’s solicitors say are required under international law, should be paid.
Speaking on behalf of the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre, campaigning Malaysian lawyer Ngee Meng Quek commented:
“There is an absolute urgency on this matter as most of the witnesses may not be able to wait for justice to be restored. For example, one of the eye witnesses, Wong Kum Sooi, who was 11 at time of killings, passed away on last Friday. He was the eldest son of Huang Ren and nephew to Huang De-Feng, both of whom were killed by the British Army on 12 December 1948 at Batang Kali. Justice delayed is none other than justice denied. In the circumstances, the Committee urges the Secretaries of State involved to agree to the request of the surviving families for an inquiry consistent with international humanitarian standards.”