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Malaysia activists 'sickened' by UK inquiry decision

Malaysian activists expressed outrage on Wednesday over Britain's refusal to hold an inquiry into the massacre of 24 unarmed villagers by British troops in 1948.

After a decades-long campaign for an official probe, a British foreign office spokesman confirmed government lawyers have issued a letter indicating a provisional decision to reject any investigation.

"It is a sickening disappointment for all the victims' families because all the British government has done is prolong pro·long  
tr.v. pro·longed, pro·long·ing, pro·longs
1. To lengthen in duration; protract.

2. To lengthen in extent.
 their suffering," said Quek Ngee Meng, who represents the families.

The letter, a copy of which was provided to AFP (1) (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) The file sharing protocol used in an AppleTalk network. In order for non-Apple networks to access data in an AppleShare server, their protocols must translate into the AFP language. See file sharing protocol. , says the government was willing to listen to further submissions but did not say when a final decision would be made.

"The government is saying that because these events happened so long ago it is hard to find out what happened, but there should not be a sell-by date sell-by date

1. Brit the date printed on packaged food specifying the date after which the food should not be sold

2. past one's sell-by date beyond one's prime

Noun 1.
 for justice," Quek told AFP.

"They are depriving these people of recognition of the crimes committed against their relatives and compensation for the suffering they have gone through over the last 61 years."

The "Batang Kali massacre The Batang Kali massacre took place in Malaysia on December 12, 1948. It is claimed that 14 members of the Scots Guards murdered 26 unarmed men and then set fire to the village. The only adult male survivor was Chong Hong, who was in his 20s at the time. " occurred in a village in central Selangor state on December 12, 1948, when 14 members of the Scots Guards
For the Historic Scots Guards that served the Monarchs of France see: Garde Écossaise

The Scots Guards, form part of the Guards Division of the British Army, whose origins lie in the personal bodyguard of King Charles I of England and
 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·sur·gen·cy  
n. pl. in·sur·gen·cies
1. The quality or circumstance of being rebellious.

2. An instance of rebellion; an insurgence.

insurgency, insurgence
 in the former Malaya -- that the men were shot because they were suspected guerrillas List of famous guerrillas, ordered by region: Afghanistan
  • Abdul Haq
  • Gulbuddin Hekmatyar
  • Ismail Khan
  • Muhammad Omer
  • Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaida leader
  • Ahmed Shah Massoud
  • Jalaluddin Haqqani
  • Skanderbeg
 fleeing the scene.

Quek said his group would now approach British lawmakers in a bid to have them raise the issue in parliament "to seek justice".

In April, the British government agreed to re-examine re·ex·am·ine also re-ex·am·ine  
tr.v. re·ex·am·ined, re·ex·am·in·ing, re·ex·am·ines
1. To examine again or anew; review.

2. Law To question (a witness) again after cross-examination.
 an earlier decision to reject a probe which activists have been campaigning for since 1993.

Quek said nine former British soldiers and four Malaysians who witnessed the events had been traced, but they are all elderly and could all be dead unless an inquiry is held soon.

The Batang Kali incident was explained away in 1948 with the then Malayan attorney general saying an inquiry had been held and the troops vindicated, although no trace of this investigation has been found.

The massacre remained largely forgotten until 1970 when a British newspaper ran an explosive account of the killings, publishing sworn affidavits by several soldiers involved who admitted the villagers were shot in cold blood.

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

The guerrilla war left thousands dead and formally ended only in 1989 with the signing of a peace treaty with the Malayan Communist Party Malayan Communist Party (MCP), also known as the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) until the 1960s was founded in Singapore in 1930, advocating for nationalism and nationhood for an independent Malaya, and carrying out armed resistance to the Japanese during World War II. .

One of the last Malaysian survivors of the massacre told AFP in a tearful interview last year that she still vividly remembered what she called "the day the British killed our men".

"After so much time, it still hurts me every time I talk about it, I remember it just like yesterday," said Tham Yong, a 78-year-old who is now battling throat cancer after spending decades fighting for compensation.
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Publication:AFP European Edition
Date:Aug 26, 2009
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