Malaysian activists petition British Queen over massacre

Malaysian activists petitioned UK`s Queen Elizabeth II after her govt rejected a probe into the massacre of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops in 1948.

Updated: Dec 01, 2010, 19:07 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian activists on Wednesday
petitioned Britain`s Queen Elizabeth II after her government
rejected a probe into the massacre of 24 unarmed villagers by
British troops in 1948.

The move follows the rejection by British government
lawyers on Monday to hold any investigation despite a
decades-long campaign by relatives and supporters for such a
probe into the killing of villagers in Batang Kali.

Calling the government`s response "legally and morally
hollow," Quek Ngee Meng, a legal representative of the
victims` families, added that the failure to hold a proper
inquiry "amounts to a very British cover-up."

"The worst features of colonialism, ie powerful
self-interest on the part of the armed forces and bureaucratic
obfuscation over decades, have, so far, conspired to ensure
that the events at Batang Kali remain unanswered for and
inadequately explained," Quek said.

Officials at the British High Commission in Kuala
Lumpur today confirmed that the British government had sent a
letter to representatives of the victims` families rejecting
an inquiry into the matter.

In response to the decision, Quek, along with a
delegation from the Chinese Associations Federation, which
also represents the victims` families, submitted their
petition to the Queen through Britain`s High Commissioner in
Kuala Lumpur, Simon Featherstone.

In a statement, Featherstone said he would "faithfully
convey their views to the British Government."

The "Batang Kali massacre" occurred in a village in
central Selangor state on December 12, 1948, when 14 members
of the Scots Guards killed 24 unarmed ethnic Chinese and
torched their village.

British colonial authorities said at the time of the
incident -- at the beginning of a 12-year communist insurgency
in the former Malaya -- that the men were shot because they
were suspected guerrillas fleeing the scene.

Explained away in 1948 by the then Malayan attorney
general, the massacre was largely forgotten until 1970 when a
British newspaper ran an explosive account of the killings,
publishing sworn affidavits by soldiers who admitted the
villagers had been shot in cold blood.

The revelations triggered an uproar in Britain but
a promised investigation was later dropped after a change in