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Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 14 April 1954

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Special Elections Committee (Report)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the Report of the Special Elections Committee set up by the British High Commisioner in the Federation of Malaya.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if a study has yet been made of the Report issued by the Special Elections Committee set up by the British High Commissioner in the Malaya Federation; and if he will now make a statement.

My right hon. Friend is now considering the recommendations in the Report in consultation with the High Commissioner and Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Malay States, and he hopes to be able to make a statement soon.

Is the Minister aware that this report has been published for several months and that the answer which he gave is almost exactly the same as that which I was given by the Secretary of State a month or two ago? Will he bear in mind that a little speed in promoting democratic self-government in Malaya would do a lot more to meet the challenge of Communism in South-East Asia than any of the predominently white military arrangements foreshadowed by the Foreign Secretary yesterday?

These questions of constitutions are very important and have to be examined by everybody concerned including, of course, the rulers of the Malay States, who have a statutory right to that.

Rubber Exports (China)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what new steps are now being taken to re-open the trade in rubber between China and Singapore, which is one of the means of which this industry can be revived.

Is the Minister aware that the restriction on the export of rubber is having a serious effect, not only on the industry, but on the standard of living of the workers there? Is he also aware that Russia has recently offered to purchase 100,000 tons of low-grade rubber from Indonesia? Could not Malaya be given an opportunity of competing in that market?

The Question deals with the export of rubber to China, not to Russia. As a matter of fact, there has been a modest improvement in the condition of the industry recently, but rubber could not be exported to China without breaking our obligations under United Nations Resolution of May, 1951, and I am sure the hon. Member would not like us to do that.

Is it not a fact that rubber is already being exported from Colombo and they are taking the market from Malaya?

Electoral Constituencies


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress is being made in dividing up the Federation of Malaya into electoral constituencies in readiness for the federal election; and how many constituencies it is proposed to establish.

A Commission of three, with Lord Merthyr as Chairman, began work earlier this month upon the delineation of constituencies. My right hon. Friend hopes soon to announce how many it is proposed that there should be.

Would the right hon. Gentleman take steps to speed up the division of the Federation into constituencies and also speed up the election?

Leper Settlements (Education)


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what provision is made for the schooling and teaching of the children in the two leper settlements in Malaya.

I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the two institutions at Sungei Buloh and Pulau Jerejak. I am asking the High Commissioner for the information sought and will write to the hon. Member when I have a reply.

I am referring particularly to the children; in these leper settlements there are a large number of children, and I want to see that their education is not neglected. I wish to ask the Minister to see that something is done to send teachers to these Colonies to educate those children.

The hon. Member will understand that we are already making inquiries into the matter.