§ 21. Mr. Sorensen
asked the Under secretary of State for the Colonies what 632 action he proposes to take respecting industrial discontent in Malaya; whether he will cause a special inquiry to be made into the disparity between wages and the rising cost of living; is he aware that this is the basic cause of the discontent and that immediate steps must be taken to remedy this; and whether he is now in a position to publish the report from the Malayan Government?
§ Mr. George Hall
My Noble Friend is consulting the High Commissioner for the Malay States with a view to securing early investigation and conciliation by officers of the Labour Department in instances of labour unrest, and he has arranged for his Labour Adviser, Major Orde Browne, on the conclusion of his present visit to Mauritius, to go to Malaya, where his advice will be available to the Malayan authorities. I would remind my hon. Friend that, as stated in my answer of 28th May, the wages paid to Indian estate workers in the rubber industry include a bonus in respect of the rise in the cost of living. In addition, most estates provide further advantages, such as free housing, ground for grazing stock, education, and firewood, and make arrangements for the issue of rice to labourers at cost price. My Noble Friend has not yet received the High Commissioner's full report on the recent disturbances in Selangor.
§ Mr. Sorensen
Can my hon. Friend say whether the inquiry that is to be made, and which will no doubt give great satisfaction, will be entirely comprehensive of the political, economic and any other aspects of the difficulty, and can he also say when the report of the inquiry is likely to be available?
Mr. Creech Jones
Can my hon. Friend say whether part of the inquiry by Major Orde Browne will include existing industrial codes as well as the facilities of the trade unions to operate in times of trade disputes?