Batang Kali Massacre - 24 innocent lives
- while debating the 2003 Supplementary Estimates
by MKula Segara
(Dewan Rakyat, Wednesday): Yesterday, the Batang Kali residents organized a dialogue with the DAP MP’ together with the Selangor DAP, headed by Sdr. Ronnie Liu. It was well attended by the locals and in the meeting the discussion was exclusively on the issue of the massacre of 24 men who were killed by the Scots Guards in December1948.
From records available and confirmed by the Batang Kali folks we are told that on 11th December1948 at about 5pm British soldiers entered the Batang Kali village and interrogation began and continued until late night. Then at about 6pm one Loo Kwei Nam was shot dead by soldiers. At 7pm on the same day women and children were separated and locked up in different kongsi houses. On 12th December women and children were taken away on a lorry. Women and children in lorry saw soldiers shooting the 24 men near the river. Thereafter the village was set on fire.
On January1st1949, an official investigation was carried out on the instructions of the then Attorney General Sir Stafford Foster-Sutton. The out come of the investigation was that the Attorney General mentioned that he was satisfied that “the suspects(the 24 men) would have made good their escape had the security forces not opened fire”. Unfortunately this investigations were never made public or sent to the war office. In the War of the running dogs author Noel Baber says “a bona fide mistake had been made”
In 1970 the British government ordered fresh investigations on the massacre after it was highlighted in the media. The investigations were led by Chief Sup.Frank Williams ( who had investigated into the Great Train Robbery). Williams had sworn testimonies from some of the Scot’s guardsman who confessed that “one of the sergeants gave the order to shoot, I fired my rifle at the people at the river bank” “the villagers were unarmed; they were not running away” Williams was leaving to Malaysia to continue his investigations when with the change of a new government (Conservatives now) all further investigations were cancelled. It was officially mentioned that “there was no reasonable likelihood of obtaining sufficient evidence to warrant prosecution” On the contrary Williams team had made it known by then that they were able to gather evidence to prove that the villagers were killed without reason and they were not trying to escape as claimed by the British.
In 1993 the then IGP Tan Sri Hanif Omar encouraged the victims to lodge reports as he said there was “no time frame to lodge police reports especially on matters pertaining to murder”. With this encouragement on 14th July 1993 three of the persons who have information of the cold blooded murder made police reports. A high level police team was set up to investigate this massacre. Also the victims on the advice of the MCA presented a petition to the High Commissioner of the UK which was to be forwarded to Queen Elizabeth to order the reopening of this matter. What has come out of this is still any ones guess.
Two witnesses Madam Foo Moi 87, Madam Tham Yong 73 and sole survivor Chong Foong 75 made police reports and were interrogated by the police. What has happen to the police investigations? Why has it taking the police more then 11 years for a decision to be made on the massacre? The guilty Scots Guards should be brought to justice the soonest possible.
The BBC in 1992 in its documentary “in cold blood” exposed evidence that the British soldiers who were involved in this massacre had actually confessed to the cold blooded murder. In fact the tragedy of Batang Kali is similar to the famous war crime of My Lai which happened in Vietnam in 1968 where the whole village was massacred by the Americans.
The only living three witlessness of this massacre are very old and frail. One of them is on a wheel chair, one is cancer stricken and the final one is having hearing problems.
It is pertinent and urgent for the Malaysian Police to reopen this investigation and clean up the wrong done to the village folks of Batang Kali. The truth must be made public. In fact the government should compensate this victims. The delay since 1993 in the police investigations is most unfortunate. The delay is a permanent scar waiting an over due correction.
The people of Batang Kali must be cleared of all wrong doings without any further delay.
* M. Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and Acting DAP Secretary General