A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

UK court rejects inquiry into killing of Malaysia rubber plantation workers

The High Court of England and Wales on Tuesday struck down [judgment] a petition calling for an independent inquiry into the killing of 24 Malaysian rubber plantation workers by British troops in 1948. The incident occurred during the Malayan Emergency [AFP report] when Britain was combating communist insurgents. The British government explained last November that they would not be conducting an investigation into the incident, but the families of the Malaysian plantation workers maintain that there is sufficient evidence to launch an independent inquiry [Bangkok Post report] into the situation. The court struck down this challenge to the British government's contention that their decision not to launch an independent inquiry was reached lawfully [Guardian report]. The lawyers representing the victims' families vowed to appeal the ruling, claiming that statements made by British soldiers prove that the killings were unlawful.

Malaysia has taken measures to repeal and replace old colonial laws with new ones. In July a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights praised [JURIST report] an announcement by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak of plans to repeal the country's 1948 Sedition Act [text, PDF]. In April, the lower chamber of the Malaysian Parliament passed a law [JURIST report] that will replace the Internal Security Act of 1960 (ISA) [text, PDF; HRW backgrounder] that allows indefinite detention of terror suspects, dissidents and political opponents. A day earlier, the prime minister had pledged to review the ISA after the country's parliament announced [JURIST reports] that it was considering repealing and replacing the controversial law.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.