HC Deb 01 December 1948 vol 458 cc1987-8
28. Mr. Platts-Mills

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies how many persons are now detained in Malaya under the Emergency Regulations; what charges have been preferred against them; and what arrangements are being made to bring them to trial.

Mr. Creech Jones

The numbers of persons so detained in the Federation of Malaya and Singapore were, on 26th November, 4,463 and 237, respectively. The Governments of the Federation and Singapore are empowered by Emergency Regulations to order the detention of any person for a period not exceeding one year and two years, respectively, but no one is held under such an order if a criminal charge can be brought against him. No specific charge need be made against persons so detained, but they have the right to make objection against their detention to an advisory committee. The final part of the Question, therefore, does not arise.

Mr. Platts-Mills

Does not the Minister think that the degree of repression disclosed in his answer will have no effect, however it is decked up to mislead public opinion in this country, in preventing the peoples of Malaya from achieving their freedom and national independence.

Mr. Creech Jones

It is not a struggle for freedom.

Mr. T. Reid

How many of these people are Malayans and how many are Chinese?

Mr. Creech Jones

A great proportion are Chinese.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us how many people are detained in Russia at the present moment?

Mr. Piratin

Can the Minister justify the announcement he has just made, which shows this House and the public that in Malaya there is an ordinance to the effect that people may be kept in gaol without any charges against them for any time, unless they make objection, and even then they have no chance of getting out? Can he justify that?

Mr. Creech Jones

I consider that the grave condition of affairs in Malaya justifies the operation of these Emergency Regulations.