HC Deb 15 March 1950 vol 472 cc1054-6
1 and 9. Mr. Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) if he will make a statement on the progress of the anti-Communist campaign in Malaya;

(2) how many volunteers have joined up in the anti-bandit month scheme in Malaya; and how many of them were Malay, Chinese and Indian, respectively.

16. Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he can give any indication of the results up to date of the anti-bandit month in Malaya; and whether he can make any general statement about the progress towards peace and security in that territory.

The Minister of State for the Colonies (Mr. John Dugdale)

During the last three months there have been over 700 operations by the security forces against terrorists, whose total losses since the start of the emergency are now 1,115 killed, 358 wounded, 644 captured and about 350 surrendered.

The anti-bandit month (which began on 26th February) has mobilised nearly half a million volunteers of all communities in a concerted and intensified effort in support of the offensive operations against the terrorists. These volunteers are helping with resettlement of squatters, and the closing of bandit communications and sources of supply. This civilian effort, which is warmly supported by the leaders of all the racial communities and by the trade unions, will, of course, not end the emergency but will, I hope, bring the end appreciably nearer. The violent reaction of the terrorists to anti-bandit month was shown by the recent increase in the number of bandit attacks, which have been marked by such tragic incidents as the indiscriminate shooting of civilians in a cinema tent, and the burning down of a village whereby 1,000 people were made homeless. These savage attacks may continue, but the Malayan peoples have shown that they are more united than ever before in their determination to rid their country of the remaining gangs of terrorists. Their courage and endurance are worthy of the highest praise.

Mr. Gammans

Will the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to answer the second part of my Question No. 9? Is he aware that the number of attacks has gone up considerably since we recognised the Communist Government in China?

Mr. Dugdale

Taking the second part of the supplementary first, I think there is no connection whatever between the two things—none whatever. With regard to the first part of the supplementary, no break-down into racial groups is available. but all races are, in fact, helping in the anti-bandit campaign.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Why is it only at this late stage that it is decided to send out additional troops in the aircraft? If they are necessary now, were they not necessary a month ago?

Mr. Dugdale

No, Sir. It has been decided, after having seen how far the anti-bandit campaign has gone and what degree of success it has had, and seeing the difficulties, that it would be well to send out this extra brigade. This brigade will in fact enable those troops who have already done such gallant work to have some rest and recuperation, which are necessary for them after this campaign, and would not have been necessary a month or two months ago.

Mr. Oliver Stanley

Is the right hon Gentleman really satisfied that these additional reinforcements will be all that will be required? We cannot forget that on a previous occasion when we pressed for reinforcements to be sent we were told that they were quite unnecessary, and that then within a month or two they had to be sent. Will the right hon. Gentleman go into it very carefully to see whether these additional reinforcements are the final requirements in Malaya?

Mr. Dugdale

Yes, Sir. Naturally, it is gone into very carefully. We are satisfied that they are the final requirements.

Commander Noble

Could the right hon. Gentleman say how many there are now in prison or detention camps in Malaya, and what arrangements are being made for deportation now that so many ports are closed in China?

Mr. Dugdale

I could not say the exact number without notice, but quite a number have already been deported, and they are being deported gradually as facilities are available; but it is a rather slow job.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Can the Minister say whether a squadron of Lincoln bombers is to be sent to Malaya? If he objects to the indiscriminate shooting of civilians by terrorists, what steps will be taken to prevent the loss of civilian life by bombing?

Mr. Dugdale

It is our duty to protect the people of Malaya from bandits. If it is necessary that this protection should take the form of the sending out of Lincoln bombers, then the Lincoln bombers must be sent so that people can be protected.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Are we to understand from what the right hon. Gentleman said that the troops being sent from Hong Kong are to enable the troops already in Malaya to be relieved, and that the troops being relieved are to go to Hong Kong, where, I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree, the situation is. to say the least of it, also very serious?

Mr. Dugdale

No, Sir. I did not say "being relieved" in the sense that the troops are to go somewhere else, but in the sense of being given a rest from the front line.

Back to