§ Mr. GINNELL
asked the price per share paid by the Government for the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company's shares; the lowest price previously reached by those shares 1777 on the Singapore Bourse; the methods by which their price was inflated at the time of the acquisition; and the total amount expended by the Government in acquiring the shares and other property, continuing the works, settling contractors' claims for work executed but impossible to utilise, and otherwise, respectively, in connection with the harbour works, docks, wharves, and premises; what independent advice, if any, was obtained before this expenditure was incurred; why the works have been suspended; what use it is proposed to make of the docks so constructed that the steamers for which they were intended cannot enter them; and whether the traders for whose accommodation the harbour at Singapore was intended are now by choice frequenting the rival harbour of Pulo Wey, Acheen Point?
The Umpire, Viscount St. Aldwyn, awarded the company a lump sum of 27,929,177 dollars as compensation for the taking over of their undertaking by the Government. I believe that this works out at about 740 dollars a share. I cannot say what was the lowest recorded price of the shares. The Umpire's award was presumably based on the value of the property, and not on the market price of the shares at the time of acquisition, whether inflated or not. The works referred to have not yet been completed, and it is consequently impossible to say what has' been the total cost to the Government. All the work that has been undertaken has been decided upon on the advice of consulting engineers of high standing. The suspension of the work has been due to engineering difficulties, which have resulted in a difference of opinion with the contractors. I am not aware that there is any foundation for the assertion that steamers will not be able to enter the docks, or for the statement that traders now frequent other ports in preference to Singapore.