UK court to rule on Batang Kali bloodbath by August, says lawyer
KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — After 64 years, the family of 24 Batang Kali villagers killed by British soldiers in 1948 will know by August the truth behind the massacre and if they will get an apology and reparation from the British government.
Lawyer Quek Ngee Meng, who is representing three family members of the villagers — Lim Ah Yin, 76, Loh Ah Choi, 71, and Chong Koon Ying, 73 — said the London High Court will announce its decision on the judicial review in late July or early August.
Earlier this month, the three septuagenarians took their decades-old case before the UK court to decide if the British government had acted lawfully when it refused last November to hold a public inquiry into both the killings and its cover-up, and to make any form of reparation to the victims’ families.
Quek told reporters today that if the UK court were to rule in favour of Lim, Loh and Chong, it would signal the start of a public inquiry on the Batang Kali incident, with the use of technology.
“Only one step that has not been done in the past public inquiries — a forensic examination of the bodies,” said Queck.
“We have experts such as Professor Sue Black saying that although this incident happened 64 years ago, forensic examinations can still be conducted,” he said.
Quek, who is also the co-ordinator for the Action Committee Condemning the Batang Kali Massacre, said the family members would appeal if they were to lose the case in the UK.
The Batang Kali massacre took place on December 12, 1948 during British military operations against the communists in the post-World War II Malayan Emergency.
British troops surrounded a rubber estate in Sungai Rimoh, Batang Kali, and shot dead 24 villagers before setting fire to the village.
The official explanation was that the men were communists or sympathisers who were trying to escape, but other accounts have since surfaced depicting a cold-blooded mass killing without cause.