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Malaya And Singapore

Volume 481: debated on Wednesday 29 November 1950

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Rubber Export Duties

30.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if the new Malayan quarterly export duties on rubber to be fixed on a sliding scale according to prices realised by exporters, will at any range of prices result in the Malayan Government deriving rubber export revenue indirectly from British purchasers of rubber, not from Malayan exporters.

It is always difficult to prophesy exactly what will happen in a matter which depends entirely on the free-play of economic forces, but I do not think that there is any chance of this happening.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, in effect, this export tax will fall on the producer, both great and small, and no one else?

35.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he proposes to take to ensure that the small native producer of rubber in Malaya is not unduly penalised by the new proposed export tax.

Discussions with representatives of the industry, including small- holders, have been held in Malaya regarding the proposal to raise the rate of export duty on rubber. Representations made during the course of these discussions have received most careful consideration by the Government of the Federation with the object of ensuring that no section of the industry is unduly penalised.

In view of the fact that the original proposals were put forward without consultation, without being submitted to the Legislative Council and have had to be revised at least twice, will the right hon. Gentleman make quite certain that no final decision is taken until all these interests, including the smallholding producer, have been carefully consulted?

The duties have not been finally introduced, and until the rates have been promulgated in Malaya it would be improper for me to make a statement anticipating any announcement.

In view of the present state of the rubber market, how is it possible for the increased tax to be borne by the small or large producer?

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that a great deal of the trouble and uncertainty about this duty has arisen from the statement that only the mechanism of the duty, and not its rate, could be discussed with the interested parties? In view of the general uncertainty, will the right hon. Gentleman make a statement soon about the position which negotiations have reached?

Migration Statistics

31.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the amount of Chinese, Malayan and Indian immigration into Malaya since the end of the war.

With my hon. Friend's permission, I shall arrange for a table of migration statistics for the period January, 1947, to June, 1950, to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Statistics for the post-war period before 1947 are not available.

Following is the table:

MMIGRATION

MalaysChineseIndians
194711,540126,20343,614
194811,809121,11537,319
194929,12696,44931,770
1950 (January—June)34,64240,42116,634
87,117384,188129,337

EMIGRATION
MalaysChineseIndians
194710,914130,24254,856
194813,098144,44045,039
194928,399128,88438,033
1950 (January—June)36,76736,73021,506
89,178440,296159,434
87,117384,188129,337
Excess of Emigrants over Immigrants, January, 1947, to June. 19502,06156,1030,097

War Damage Claims

36.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he is taking to expedite the settlement of outstanding claims lodged by persons in this country against the Government of Singapore in respect of losses to property caused by the Japanese occupation of Malaya.

My right hon. Friend is satisfied that the Government of Singapore is pressing forward as quickly as possible with the settlement of claims. No specific priority has been granted to consideration of outstanding claims lodged by persons in the United Kingdom with the Malayan War Damage Commission. Such claims are being examined in their turn, together with the claims of persons locally domiciled.

Civil Service Personnel

44. and 69.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) how many officers in Class Ia of the Malayan Civil Service are British; how many are Chinese; how many are Malays; and how many are Indians; (2) how many non-Europeans have been promoted to Class Ia of the Malayan Civil Service since 1945 and since May, 1949, respectively.

One Malay officer, now retired, has been promoted to Class Ia of the Malayan Civil Service since 1940. No non-Europeans have been promoted to that class since May, 1949. The seven Class Ia appointments are all held by European officers at the present time.

If we are to accelerate the self-government of Malaya is it not of the utmost importance that as many as possible of the senior posts should be held by people of the country concerned?

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend, but the most important consideration of all is that we should get the people best qualified for the job without regard to race.