Batang Kali massacre: UK appeal court dismisses application for public inquiry

Batang Kali massacre: UK appeal court dismisses application for public inquiry.

Survivors and descendants of 24 tappers killed by the British Army in Batang Kali in 1948 are urging the British government for a speedy resolution to the massacre issue.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — A British Court of Appeal dismissed an application by family members for a public inquiry on the killings of 24 unarmed civilians by British troops in Batang Kali, Selangor, in 1948.

A three-man bench headed by Lord Justice Maurice Kay also disagreed with counsels acting for the British government that the Malaysian government and the Sultan of Selangor were accountable for the deployment of the troops to Selangor.

“We are not persuaded with the respondents’ argument that the decision to deploy the troops in Malaya was mediated through the High Commissioner.

“The deployment was a deployment of troops of Crown in right of the government of United Kingdom, with the consequence that the Crown become accountable for the actions of the troops,” as stated in the findings of the court which was made available to the press here today.

Quek Ngee Meng, the co-ordinator of the Action Committee Condemning the Massacre, told a media conference on the decision by the British Court of Appeal, that the Appeal Court, in its ruling yesterday, also stated that the court was bound by precedence of earlier court cases which forced them to dismiss the application.

However, he said the judges had reinforced the finding of facts by the lower court where those killed were civilians, unarmed and posed no threat to the soldiers.

They (panel) also stated that all the victims were killed within minutes after they were released before their village was burnt down, he added.

Ngee also pointed out that the panel shared the view that the past investigations on the massacre was ” woefully inadequate”, “one-sided” and ”unfinished”.

Ngee, also a lawyer by profession, said new evidence and confessions made by several British soldiers revealed that the civilians never posed a threat and this cast real doubt over the official account of the incident which said the victims were killed while they attempted to escape.

In 1948, the Second Battalion of the Scot Guards shot and killed 24 civilians in the Sungei Remok Rubber Estate in Batang Kali.

Meanwhile, Datuk Ahmad Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, who is the legal adviser to the action committee, said they had received instruction from family members to appeal to the Supreme Court.

-BERNAMA

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