§ MR. WEDGWOOD
I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the alienation of 1,231,157 acres of public land in the Federated Malay States up to the end of the year 1906; whether land so alienated is put up to public auction or sold privately; if put up to public auction what notice is given of such sale, and is a reasonable reserve price put upon the land; and will he consider the advisability of stopping the permanent alienation of public land and minerals.
§ MR. CHURCHILL
The hon. Member's figures are correct. There has been great demand for land for the purpose of planting rubber. Land may be alienated with or without auction, but mining land is almost invariably put up to auction. In such cases a reserve price is fixed by the Resident. I do not know what notice is given of a sale by auction, but the Residents may be trusted to see that sufficient notice is given to secure the necessary competition. Agricultural land is not, as a rule, sold by auction but is granted in return for the payment of a premium, which is fixed according to the class of land, and for an annual quit rent which may be periodically revised at intervals of thirty years. Mining land is granted on lease for a term of years and not in perpetuity. For further details I would refer the hon. Member to the land and mining enactments of the Federated Malay States, which will be found in the Library of this House. The Secretary of State sees no reason at present for altering a system which is understood to work well and has attracted much-needed capital to the Federated Malay States.