Campaign for UK apology over Batang Kali massacre gets backing from Malaysian lawmakers

KUALA LUMPUR: Efforts by relatives of the Batang Kali massacre victims to push for an apology from the British Government received a boost following backing from Malaysian lawmakers here.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mohd Nazri Aziz said support will be sought from lawmakers here from both sides of the political divide here for the signature campaign seeking the apology.

“I will seek permission from the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat to place the forms on the MPS tables to allow them to participate in the signature campaign,” he told reporters Wednesday during a press conference at the Parliament lobby with relatives of the Batang Kali massacre victims and survivors of the incident.

Besides this, he said he would also seek assistance from Wisma Putra and the Attorney-General’s Chambers for the apology and get the official account of the incident expunged from the Hansard of the British Parliament, following a court decision there stating there was a cover-up.

In the incident, 24 men, mostly rubber tappers, were shot dead in the Sungai Rimoh rubber estate on Dec 11 and 12, 1948 and their houses set on fire by the 2nd Battalion of the Scots Guards, during operations against the communist insurgency.

President of the Queen’s Bench Division Sir John Thomas and High Court of England and Wales Justice Colman Maurice Treacy had heard the judicial review of the British Government’s position on the killings.

In their judgement, it stated the men were not running away and that two of the soldiers implicated, George Kydd and Robert Brownrigg, had reportedly said they were told by the army to testify that those killed had been trying to escape.

(The conclusion of an inquiry into the incident in 1948/9 was that those killed were shot while trying to escape and was tabled before the British Parliament.)

On Sunday, survivors and relatives of the massacre launched a signature campaign, in the form of a postcard address to British Prime Minister, to hold the British Government accountable for the killings.

The surviving families members are also appealing against the British High Court decision that there was no obligation to hold a public inquiry into the killings.

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