HC Deb 07 November 1950 vol 480 cc742-3
6. Air Commodore Harvey

asked The Secretary of State for War how many officers have sat for an examination on speaking Malay; and how many have passed during the last two years.

Mr. Strachey

Examinations in Malay were held for the first time since the war in the financial year 1949–50. Twenty-eight officers sat for the examination and 17 passed. The examinations for this year are still in progress.

Air Commodore Harvey

As the war in Malaya is now in its third year, can the Minister say why this matter has been left so long? Will he bear in mind that, if we are to meet with success in this difficult war, it is essential that officers and non-commissioned officers should be able to speak the language?

Mr. Strachey

I quite agree on the importance of teaching Malay, and I think we shall find that a large number of officers and other ranks have taken the examination this year.

Mr. Niall Macpherson

Will the Minister make it compulsory for officers and other ranks to pass this examination after the first year if they have a three years' tour of duty?

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