GBM Press Statement: Submitting Batang Kali Massacre’s Signed Postcards to the British High Commissioner

Each signatory requests an apology from the British Government on the 65th year’s unlawful killing in Batang Kali. The delegation consists of 10 representatives presenting the signed postcards which are addressed to the British Prime Minster.

The Coalition, also known as Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM), is a multi-ethnic, multireligious and non-partisan coalition of 25 non-governmental organisations, has been instrumental in raising awareness of the British Government’s position and inviting the Malaysian public to express its concerns through the signature campaign.

Tan Yew Sing, Chairman of GBM, in response to the postcard submission, said that “despite the UK High Court’s finding in last September that the British Government remains legally responsible for the killing of the innocent civilians in Batang Kali in December 1948 and the torture of villagers that preceded it, the British Government has not come forward and made an official apology to the victims’ families” A request for talks has gone unanswered for six months now. Meanwhile, the British Government has shown itself fully capable of doing the right thing by compensating Kenyans for the ill treatment and torture during Colonial era. We do not understand why the British feel capable of speaking up and acknowledging past wrongdoing in Kenya but are dumb-struck when it comes to Malaysia.”

Five elderly Kenyan individuals brought a lawsuit for personal injuries and torture caused by employees and agents of the British and Colonial Administration during the uprising of African resistance to colonial rule in Kenya, also known as the Mau Mau uprising. Early this month, the British Government settles this suit out of court with the Kenyans” UK Foreign Secretary William Hague admitted the ill-treatment, expressed sincere regret, will pay 20 million pounds of compensation to the victims and is funding the construction of a permanent memorial.

“We hope that the Cameron administration will take full cognizance of the Malaysian community’s unequivocal endorsement on the families’ pleas and have the courage to admit the past wrong-doings in this land”, added Tan Yew Sing, Chairman of GBM.

 

Two judges of the London Divisional Court in their judgment delivered in last September made the following key findings:-

i. The British Government and not the Sultan Selangor is, and always has been, legally responsible for the British soldiers, their orders and the killings of 24 innocent men at Batang Kali in December 1948;

ii. Before the killings began, Batang Kali villagers were tortured including by means of mock executions;

iii. Those killed were civilians not wearing any uniform, had no weapons and were a range of ages;

iv. The majority of the British soldiers interviewed by police admitted that the killings were a murder;

v. It can be no longer be permissible to maintain the “official account” that the 24 were shot when trying to escape; and

vi. The 1948-9 inquiry by the Attorney-General, on which the official account was based, has very serious weaknesses, and there is evidence of a “cover-up”. The public inquiry should have been properly considered in 1970 and the British officials decided to positively block the 1990s Royal Malaysian investigation.


The delegation will also hand in a memorandum addressed to the British Prime Minister during the meeting with the High Commissioner. Mr. Quek Ngee Meng, the coordinator of the Action Committee said that, “this is the second memorandum sent by the campaign group to the British Prime Minister. We told the Prime Minister that since the Court’s factual findings are beyond any dispute, the people of Malaysia see no reason that this 6-decades old historical wrong which undermines cordial relations between the two countries cannot be resolved amicably. That is why talks were offered a full six months ago, but that offer has gone unanswered. The victims’ family requests of reparation including an apology and the construction of a memorial are reasonable and the British Government is fully able to address them just as it has done in Kenya” Despite being kept waiting, we remain very willing to talk to bring settlement about.”

This second memorandum requests the British Government to:-

a. accept the facts found by the Court and make reasonable reparations including an official unreserved apology to the victims’ families;

b. withdraw the deceitful official account in Parliament immediately; and

c. construct a permanent memorial to the victims.

The campaign group submitted its first memorandum to Mr. David Cameron when he visited Malaysia in April last year.


The Delegation

1. Mr. Chin Fo Sang

(Chairman, Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre);

2. Mr. Quek Ngee Meng

(Coordinator, Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre);

3. Mr. Tan Yew Sing

(Chair of Coalition on Plan of Action for Malaysia (aka Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia –

“GBM”) / President of KL/Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH);

4. Mr. Zaid Kamaruddin

(Vice Chair of GBM / Secretary General of IKRAM);

5. Ms. Julie Wong

(Secretary of GBM / Honorary Secretary of Permas);

6. Mr. Raghavan Annamalai

(Treasurer of GBM / 2nd Vice President of Tamil Foundation);

7. Dato’ Haji Thasleem Bin lbrahim Al Haj

(Exco Member of GBM / Chair of National Indian-Rights Action Team);

8. Mr. Arumugam K

(Exco Member of GBM / Adviser of Suaram);

9. Ms. Ho Yock Lin

(Secretariat of GBM);

10. Mr.Lim Kok

(Victim’s Families / Claimant)

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