HC Deb 22 January 1947 vol 432 cc188-9
30. Mr. William Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the resignation, on or about 20th December, 1946, of 21 of the leading officials in the Sarawak Government; and who have replaced them.

Mr. Creech Jones

On 20th December a circular was issued, by the Governor's direction, requiring any member of the Sarawak Government Service who felt unable to serve that Government with the loyalty it is entitled and obliged to demand of its servants, to notify the authorities accordingly by 31st December. The circular was sent to 2,509 Government servants, including 49 Europeans, 1,371 Malays, 426 Chinese and 456 Dyaks. My latest information is that notice of resignation has been received from 335 officials, of whom all but three were Malays. Of the 332 Malays who have resigned, some 90 per cent. live in one particular area where the influence of the Malay National Union is predominant. They submitted their resignations on printed forms supplied by the Malay National Union, and many of them informed their Departmental Heads privately that they were acting contrary to their real wishes because of pressure brought to bear on them, or their families, and fear of social or religious boycott. Those who have resigned will be granted special retirement terms. As regards the last part of the Question, the majority of the resignations do not take effect for three months. I have, as yet, no information about the arrangements for replacements, but I understand that no functional breakdown of any Government Department is anticipated.

Mr. Teeling

In view of the fact that we have not yet seen the actual Deed of Cession, and that the matter remains open until finally decided by the Privy Council, is it right that these people should be forced to resign before the matter is finally decided? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that these 21 people to whom I have referred were heads of Government Departments?

Mr. Creech Jones

If the hon. Member goes to the Library, he will see the Notice in regard to cession. Parliament has accepted as a fact the cession of Sarawak, and it was in the spirit of Parliamentary action that this line of action was taken by the Government.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what terms of compensation, if any, are offered to these persons?

Mr. Creech Jones

They are entitled to certain special retirement terms, but I have not the details here.

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