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Rural Development

Volume 477: debated on Wednesday 19 July 1950

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a further statement on the new Rural and Industrial Development Authority in Malaya; what particular work it is to undertake; and if this work is restricted to rural development for Malays in view of the fact that the representatives nominated by the Government are all Malays.

As regards the first two parts of the question I cannot add to the statement issued by the Federation Government on 9th July, the text of which will be reproduced in the OFFICIAL REPORT. The Authority will be concerned primarily with the Malay community, who form the large majority of the rural population but it will not be restricted to them, and its proposed membership includes European Chinese and Indian members.

Following is the text of the statement:

In connection with its plan for economic development in rural areas, the Government of the Federation has decided to set up a Rural and Industrial Development Authority. The general purpose of the Authority will be to assist the primary producer to develop a sound economy and to give him a larger share in development of industry based upon his primary product.

The first task of the Authority is to consider the order of priority of various schemes to be laid before it, the agency to be employed and financial resources that it will require. For this purpose the Authority has been constituted on an interim basis. It is intended that in due course, subject to the approval of the Legislative Council, the Authority should have its own finance, possibly becoming a statutory corporation.

The members of the Authority will be the Hon. Dato Onn bin Jaafar, D.K., D.P.M.J. (Chairman), the Financial Secretary or his representative, the Economic Secretary or his representative, the Heads of the Departments of Agriculture, Co-operative Development and Drainage and Irrigation, 11 Malay members nominated for State and Settlement Governments, and representatives whom Chamber of Commerce, the Banks and Colonial Development Corporation have been invited to nominate. The Authority will begin its work in September.

The Government hopes through this machinery to give drive, backing and coordination to, rural development schemes, with accompanying industrial opportunities, throughout the Federation. The Draft Six Year Development Plan which will be largely supplemented by these schemes is to be debated in the Legislative Council on 26th July.