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Operations, Malaya

Volume 464: debated on Wednesday 27 April 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Air what steps are taken by the Royal Air Force in Malaya to prevent injury to the unarmed civilian population during raids on bandit areas.

No bandit-infested area is attacked from the air unless the civil authorities are satisfied that there is no risk to the civilian population. The Royal Air Force take every precaution to ensure accuracy in the attacks.

Could the Minister tell us how it is possible to bomb any area without endangering the population; and paid for married quarters by Royal Air Force officers whose rank is senior to those for whom their accommodation was primarily intended.

As the answer contains a number of figures I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

is the right hon. and learned Gentleman still satisfied that the allocation of these quarters to officers who start their service as officers is satisfactory?

Yes, Sir. In relation to the position in civilian life the treatment of these officers and the rents they are asked to pay are, from their point of view, very satisfactory.

Following is the answer

does he not think that this is more likely to create anti-British feeling in Malaya than anything else?

I think my hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. These bombing attacks take place not on urban areas, towns or villages, but on the bandit camps and hide-outs.

Is it not the fact that nearly all these bombs are dropped actually on the jungle, on the bandit columns when they are there, without endangering any population other than animal life?

Is it not also the case that in some places the bandits are rather dependent upon those who live around them, and would it not be wise for those people to keep away from the bandits?