By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Putrajaya has offered to help the families of the 1948 Batang Kali massacre victims expunge the British Parliament’s official account of the killings and push for a public apology from the British government for the bloodshed.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz told reporters in Parliament today that he would consult the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to consider all possible legal options to help the victims’ families.
“This is the first time that I am involved in this... I will consult my colleagues and perhaps see how Wisma Putra can help,” he said.
The parliamentary affairs minister had earlier signed the petition mounted by the families last Sunday demanding the British Parliament withdraw its official account of the December 12, 1948, incident, and seeking an “unreserved apology” from the British government for the incident.
Nazri, who is also the minister for parliamentary affairs, added that he would also obtain permission from the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to allow the petition to be tabled to all federal lawmakers.
He said the petition would be accompanied by an official letter from him, urging support from the lawmakers for the families’ cause.
“I will sign this... and include [the petition] along with my letter of appeal to MPs to support this cause pursued by the families of victims of the Batang Kali massacre,” he said.
Hulu Selangor MP P. Kamalanathan has also signed the petition.
The families' lawyer Quek Ngee Meng said the petition targets 10,000 signatures, which will be tabulated on December 12 this year, the 64th anniversary of the massacre.
"We are touched that Nazri and YB Kamalanathan have agreed to help us. This is an honourable act that shows that Malaysians are willing to come forward to correct a historical wrong," he said.
Four relatives of the 24 unarmed rubber plantation workers shot dead in December 1948 by British troops in Batang Kali, Selangor, had been granted leave last year by a High Court in London for a judicial review of Britain’s refusal to hold a public enquiry into the killings.
The judicial review was filed in the name of four claimants — Chong Nyok Keyu, Loh Ah Choi, Lim Kok and Wooi Kum Thai.
The hearing is to examine whether the British Secretaries of State for Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office acted lawfully when they refused in November 2010 to hold a public inquiry into both the killings and their cover-up, and to make any form of reparation to the victims’ families.
The victims’ families have long sought a proper explanation, apology and reparation for the killings.