HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 cc1800-1
27. Mr. Platts-Mills

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many persons were entitled to register as voters in the recent Singapore elections; how many actually registered; how many voted; how many parties contested the election; and whether he is satisfied that the outcome adequately reflects public opinion in the Malayan Union.

Mr. Mayhew

The number entitled to register is estimated at about five times the number of registrations, which was 22,387. Fourteen thousand three hundred and seventy, or 64 per cent. of registered electors, voted. Only one party contested the election, but there were also nine independent candidates for the six seats. My right hon. Friend has no reason to suppose that the outcome does not adequately reflect public opinion in the Colony of Singapore.

Mr. Platts-Mills

Would my hon. Friend accept the estimate of ten times the number of registrations being the correct figure for those who could have registered to vote; and, that being the case, would he not accept that whereas only 6 per cent. of the people entitled to vote did vote, it really amounts to a complete rejection of the Constitution by the Malayan people, and would he not consider making another shot at a constitution which they like better?

Mr. Mayhew

It is certainly a small poll, and I think it is due largely to the fact that popular elections are a new experience in Singapore. On the other hand, sometimes a small poll which is fair is better than a large one which is faked.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Could the hon. Gentleman say anything, perhaps in another capacity, about the voting in the recent Italian elections?

Mr. Platts-Millls

Is my hon. Friend aware, when he says that people like having fair elections, that 75 members of the Legislative Council are nominated by the Government but that only six are elected?

Mr. Mayhew

I cannot accept my hon. Friend's judgment of what is a fair and free election.

Forward to