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Malaya (War Damage Compensation)

Volume 464: debated on Friday 13 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any statement to make regarding the Malaya War Damage Compensation Scheme, in the light of the Joint Report of the Select Committee of the Local Legislatures, which recently made recommendations on this question.

Yes, Sir. In view of the increased burdens which Malaya has had to bear since 1948, His Majesty's Government have now decided to offer a free grant of £20 million (approximately $171.4 million) towards the scheme, in place of the sum of £10 million (approximately $85.7 million) offered in April of that year. An interest-free loan of up to $160 million, or approximately £18½ million to be repaid, to the extent that it is taken up, in equal annual instalments over 20 years starting in 1956, will also be made available by His Majesty's Government if required. Parliamentary approval for the necessary provision will be sought in due course.These sums, together with certain assets available to the Malayan Governments, should be broadly sufficient to finance a scheme of the order which is agreed to be necessary. If the proceeds from Japanese reparations, which are as yet unknown, are insufficient to fill any remaining gap, and if the Malayan Governments are consequently in difficulties in completing the scheme, His Majesty's Government have undertaken to consider further assistance sympathetically when the time comes. This whole offer, which is final, is conditional on His Majesty's Government being satisfied that the scheme as finally put into effect is an effective instrument of rehabilitation. The offer has been communicated to the Federation and Singapore Governments by despatch, and the despatches will now be published with a view to early consideration by the two Legislative Councils. Copies of the published correspondence will be placed in the Library of the House.