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Malaya (Disturbances)

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 7 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement regarding the strike of workers on rubber estates in Malaya.

The only recent incident reported to me is a disturbance which took place on an estate in South Kedah on 28th April. No strike was, however, involved. Inquiries are proceeding regarding this incident, but the situation was reported to be calm on the following morning. There appears to be no evidence to suggest any connection between this incident and the earlier troubles on estates which were the subject of my reply to the hon. Member on 23rd April.

Why does not the Minister give a comprehensive explanation of all these labour troubles in Malaya? Are they due to shortages of food, or Communist agitation, or what is it? Cannot we have a comprehensive statement?

I thought that a statement had been made. Certainly, information has been put in the Library of the House.

Did not the Minister's statement deal only with the Kedah uprising; is not this very much more widespread; is it not due mainly to the fact that the workers have not got enough rice; and is he not aware that without enough rice we shall never get satisfactory conditions in Malaya?

We appreciate that food and economic difficulties are behind a great deal of this agitation, but it is impossible for one to make a comprehensive statement in regard to the general economic situation in Malaya and the conditions of the workers, which was the request of the hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans).