HC Deb 20 December 1932 vol 273 cc907-9
42. Mr. HICKS

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the abolition of competitive examination for the Government service in the Federated Malay States is now under consideration; and what are the reasons for this change of policy?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister)

The answer is rather long, but, in view of the importance of the subject, perhaps the House would wish me to read it.

I decided, at the beginning of this year, that recruitment for the Cadet Services of Malaya and Hong Kong, which had formerly been by the method of competitive examination, should in future be carried out by means of the selection system which already applied to the great bulk of the appointments in the Colonial Service for which I was responsible. It is impossible to discuss fully the reasons for this decision within the limits of a Parliamentary answer, but they were set out in a despatch to the Governor of the


Since the answer involves a tabular statement, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement:

Straits Settlements, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member.

The main points may be summarised as follow:—

  1. 1. The existence of a separate method of recruitment for a relatively small section of the Colonial Service was anomalous, especially in view of the policy of unification of the Service,which is now being developed.
  2. 2. The selection system, as operated by the Appointments Department of the Colonial Office, has been established, after authoritative investigation, as that most suited to meet the particular requirements of the Colonial Service as a whole.
  3. 3. I felt no hesitation in concluding, in these circumstances, that the change in the method of recruitment for the Eastern Cadetships was not only logical, but was in the best interests of the Dependencies immediately concerned and of the Colonial Service generally.


Would the right hon. Gentleman tell us who are the selectors?


I should like notice of that question; I cannot carry the whole of the names of the selection board in my head. If the hon. Member will put down a question for written answer, I will give him the names.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Federated Malay States are opposed to this scheme?


No, not a bit. I have had some Criticism from one or two officers in the Federated Malay States, but I have had, from a large number of officers and from unofficial opinion generally, the most complete and whole-hearted endorsement of what I have done.