NEWS: ‘Massacre’ families seek inquiry: Malaysians seeking an inquiry into the 1948 killing of villagers by UK troops

Malaysians seeking an inquiry into the 1948 killing of 24 villagers by UK troops say their relatives’ deaths were “cold-blooded mass murder”.

The alleged massacre at Batang Kali happened when Malaya was part of the British Empire.

The government’s refusal to formally investigate is to be challenged in a judicial review hearing.

The British authorities at the time said the men were insurgents killed as they tried to escape.

Relatives of the dead are campaigning for a public inquiry and compensation.

The judicial review is to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday at the High Court, in London.

The killings by a platoon of Scots Guards occurred during the so-called Malayan Emergency, a communist-inspired revolt against the British authorities which lasted until the late 1950s.

Three of the surviving family members of the ethnic Chinese who were killed attended a press conference in London on Monday, including two who were present as children when the killings began.

‘Whitewash’ claim

The BBC’s legal correspondent Clive Coleman, who attended the conference, said one of the relatives spoke movingly of how she was an 11-year-old girl at the time and how her father had been killed.

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She was still clearly very angry about the events which had happened over 60 years ago and the victims consider this to have been an act of cold-blooded mass murder, our correspondent added.

He also says one of the issues is whether justice can be obtained after six decades.

There have already been two inquiries into the killings – one shortly after the events in 1948 and another in 1970.

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What happened at Batang Kali was an extremely serious human rights abuse on any view at all”

Solicitor John Halford

Former Labour British Defence Secretary Denis Healey instructed Scotland Yard to create a special task team to investigate the matter, but the incoming Conservative government dropped it in 1970 due to a lack of evidence.


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