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Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 14 June 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the heavy expense of broadcasting in Singapore and the projected enlargement of the broadcasting installation are solely due to the amenity needs of the Colony or whether wider considerations affecting the Empire as a whole are embraced; why the present average expenditure per licence in the Colony is five times greater than in the United Kingdom; and how much greater still it will be when the new studio is completed.

There are two broadcasting stations at Singapore; Radio Malaya, which broadcasts to the Federation of Malaya as well as the Colony of Singapore, and the British Far East Broadcasting Service, which is operated by the B.B.C. and relays B.B.C. transmissions to other countries in the Far East. The expansion which is being carried out in both these stations is due to wider considerations and is not designed to meet the needs of Singapore alone.

The average expenditure per licence in Singapore is greater than in the United Kingdom because the proportion of citizens holding licences is very much lower than it is here. I regret that I am unable to estimate the increase in the average expenditure due to the cost of the new studio.

With regard to the third and last part of my Question, when the right hon. Gentleman is considering this matter will he bear in mind the importance of not laying any further unnecessary financial burden on an already harassed community?

Having just returned from this part of the world, I am very conscious of the need for increasing our broadcasting service.

Is the importance of this station for broadcasting to South China being borne in mind, and is it being made in any way a substitute for the Hong Kong radio station?

The importance of broadcasting to South China is a matter we have very much in mind.

Does not the Minister consider that one of our major failures so far in Malaya has been the absence of an efficient propaganda organisation in order to put our point of view to the people of South-East Asia?

I am aware that our propaganda needs improving, and can be improved, and I am taking steps to that end.