§ MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any, and if so what, steps have been taken to investigate the grievances set forth in a recent Petition from certain British and Chinese inhabitants of Penang; and what answer has been returned to their demand that a Royal Commission should be appointed to inquire into those grievances?
§ MR. S. BUXTON
The Petition in question was carefully considered, and 1451 an answer was sent to the Governor. The Secretary of State cannot admit that a case has been made out for a Royal Commission. In his opinion, if any inquiry were to be held it should be by a Committee of the Legislative Council. It does not appear, on a careful examination of the facts, that Penang is labouring under any substantial grievance in matters of finance as compared with the other Straits Settlements; but the Secretary of State has expressed a hope that every opportunity will be taken of consulting the wishes of the Penang community in such matters as local public works and others, and has asked the new Governor, who is now on his way to the Colony, to consider whether the Legislative Council might not occasionally' meet at Penang.