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Malaya And Singapore

Volume 441: debated on Wednesday 6 August 1947

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Industrial Conciliation


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will appoint an officer from the United Kingdom, with experience of industrial conciliation, to the Labour Department in Singapore.

Steps are being taken for the selection of a suitable candidate from the United Kingdom with trade union experience and experience of industrial conciliation to fill a vacancy which has recently arisen in Singapore.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make arrangements for suitable trade union officials in the Malayan Federation and Singapore to visit the United Kingdom, in order to study trade union and conciliation machinery.

I hope that such a visit will prove possible and discussion regarding arrangements is taking place.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many working days have been lost in the Malayan Federation and Singapore, respectively, owing to industrial disputes since the resumption of civil government; and whether he will appoint a committee to inquire into this matter.

As the reply to the first part of the Question contains a number of figures and is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, cir- culate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The figures record a considerable improvement in both territories during recent months. As regards the second part of the Question, I do not consider that the circumstances call for a committee of inquiry. I am, however, in communication with the two Governors with a view to arranging for two or three experienced trade unionists from this country to visit Malaya to study local labour conditions.

Following is the reply:

Working time lost in consequence of industrial disputes.

Malayan Union.


Man-days lost.

August, 1946271,740
September, 194644,329
October, 194620,368
November, 19465,592
December, 194635,056
January, 194755,651
February, 194795,725
March, 194785,401
April, 194730,278
May, 194738,001
June, 194714,565

The term "man-days lost," rather than "working days lost," is used because of variations in the incidence of rest days. The figures quoted are based upon a seven day week and are accordingly inflated to an approximate extent of one-seventh. Well over 40 per cent. of the man-days lost were due to strikes on two large rubber estates in Kedah during August, 1946, the Malayan colliery strike early in 1947 and the Perak Hydro Electric Company strike in April of the same year. It is regretted that no figures are available for the period prior to August, 1946.



Working days lost.

April to December, 1946852,000
January, 194779,000
February, 1947193,000
March, 194753,000
April, 194738,000
May, 194712,000
June, 19473,000
July, 19479,000

Rice Ration


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how Malaya's daily rice ration compares with other countries in Asia; and whether the International Emergency Food Council will be asked to review its allocation to rice-eating populations.

The present basic rice ration of 4½ oz. daily in Malaya is the same as in Ceylon and in North Borneo but slightly less than the present ration in Hong Kong. I regret that I have not got the material for a comparison with present ration scales in other countries in Asia. I understand that the International Emergency Food Council will be meeting next month to consider the rice allocations for 1948.