HC Deb 15 February 1922 vol 150 cc1014-5
77. Mr. J. W. WILSON

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the government of North Borneo issues licences to private traders for the sale of opium to the labourers on the plantations; whether there is no legislative limit to the amount of opium which may be sold to the coolies; and whether he will ask the Chartered Company of North Borneo to supply His Majesty's Government with a return showing to what extent the revenue of the country has benefited during the last five years by the sale of the drug?


I understand that the sale of prepared opium (chandu) in the territory of the British North Borneo Company is not permitted except by duly licenced persons who are subject to very stringent regulations and liable to severe penalties for their infringement. There is no legislative limit to the amount of Government prepared opium which may be purchased, but by virtue of the administrative measures instituted by the Government for the control of the traffic, consumers are practically rationed to a moderate rate of consumption. It is an offence for any person to have in his possession any prepared opium other than Government prepared opium. I am informed that, as a result of the close supervision exercised by the Government, there has been a substantial decrease in consumption per capita in recent years. As regards the last part of the question, I will make inquiry of the Company.

Sir J. D. REES

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that for many coolies from malarious districts in the East a supply of opium is necessary as a medicine to keep them in health?


That is a matter for argument.