§ 26. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Undersecretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware of the report made in the Johore State Council that an acute scarcity of essential foodstuffs now existed and that large areas of land were derelict; that the production of rice as a staple product has fallen drastically during the last decade owing to the lack of proper drainage and irrigation; whether the schemes of water-control being formulated, as stated in the Economic Survey, are likely to be carried into effect; and whether the peasants are being assisted in regard both to land reclamation and an adequate food supply?
§ Mr. George Hall
My Noble Friend has not received a copy of the report mentioned, but he has no information of any acute scarcity of essential foodstuffs in Johore. The Government of Johore, like other Administrations in Malaya, is energetically developing its existing and potential "padi" areas, in order to grow more food and reduce the extent to which Malaya has depended in the past on imported supplies of rice. The State Government is carrying through a development scheme, which is estimated to cost 2,500,000 dollars, and it is the policy in Johore, as in the other Malay States, to develop settlement in new "padi" areas opened by fresh irrigation works. Arrangements have been made in Malaya to ensure the maintenance of food supplies.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Do I understand that my hon. Friend is making inquiries with regard to the supply of rice in particular in Johore?