Thursday, 14 April 2011

British Massacre - Batang Kali Survivors and kin seek inquiry and damages

Putting justice in order: Claimants (from right) Wooi Kum Thai, Loh Ah Choi, Lim Kok and Chong Hyok Keyu holding posters of protest at a press conference here yesterday.
By P. ARUNA aruna@thestar.com.my

Survivors and kin of Batang Kali episode seek inquiry and damages




KUALA LUMPUR: Survivors and relatives of the Batang Kali massacre are going ahead with their quest for a review of a decision not to have a public inquiry despite pressure from British authorities.

The group is also seeking a review of the decision by the British government in November last year not to make any form of compensation to the families of those killed.

Their lawyer Quek Ngee Meng said the group was facing £100,000 (RM492,280) in legal fees after the British Legal Aid Authority refused them legal aid.



“We were only informed that our application for legal aid had been rejected on March 18,” said Quek, adding that the group’s solicitors in London submitted a final appeal to the Special Costs Control Review Panel for legal aid yesterday.

He said they were also facing pressure from the British government solicitor who had offered to dismiss the fees if they stopped pursuing the case.

The group filed their claim for review at the High Court of Justice Administrative Court in Britain on Feb 25.

Twenty-four unarmed villagers were killed by British troops in 1948 during the communist insurgency in then Malaya in an incident described by the colonial authorities “as suspected guerillas fleeing the scene”.

The founder of the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre, Tan Kai Hee, said the group had evidence of cover-up and political interference by the British authorities into the case’s investigation and prosecution.

He said soldiers involved in the killing had confessed that they were pressured into giving false statements on the incident.

A report by the Guardian newspaper in Britain on Saturday also revealed that the British government had pressured Malaysian authorities into stopping a police investigation.