§ 17. Mr. Gammans
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has any further statement to make on the rice situation in Malaya.
Mr. Ivor Thomas
No, Sir, there has been no new development. All who are concerned with this problem are doing their best to obtain the largest possible quantities of rice for Malaya, consistent with the needs and claims of other rice-eating countries, and with proper regard to price. Every practicable step is also being taken to stimulate local production.
§ Mr. Gammans
Is the position the same as it was a few weeks ago when the people of Malaya were getting a considerably smaller rice ration than the people of Japan?
I have no exact figures of the rice ration in Japan. The position in Malaya certainly is serious and we are doing our best to alleviate it.
§ Dr. Haden Guest
Is it not the case that the rice ration in Japan is about 10 ounces, in India about 9½ ounces and in Malaya about 4½ ounces, and will my hon. Friend make representations to secure a more equitable distribution of rice? Further, is he aware that if the rice ration of one of the other countries were reduced by, say, half an ounce, it would enable Malaya to get a sufficient rice ration compared with what is now being issued in other countries, instead of a quite inadequate ration which compels Malaya, and all the Asiatic employees of the Services to be dependent on black market rice, so that the Services must pay a black market price for it.
I cannot confirm the figures, but certainly the ration in Malaya is lower than in a number of other countries round about and very much lower than we should wish to see.
Mr. De la Bère
Is the Minister aware of the absolutely desperate position, which cannot be dismissed lightly?