HC Deb 19 May 1954 vol 527 cc2092-4
46. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has yet received intimation of the decision of the Rulers of the Malaya Federation on the subject of federal elections; and if he will now make a statement on the matter.

48. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now make a statement on the new constitutional arrangements for Malaya.

56. Mr. Proctor

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement regarding the proposed new constitution for Malaya with particular reference to the elected and nominated seats proposed.

Mr. Hopkinson

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. George Craddock) on 30th April.

Mr. Rankin

Is the Minister aware that both the United Malay National Organisation and the Malaya Chinese Organisation have expressed dissatisfaction with the small elected majority which is afforded under the new Constitution? In view of that, will he consider assigning to the Alliance four out of the seven of the nominated seats, which I understand he proposes to hold in reserve?

Mr. Hopkinson

That is a separate question which should be placed separately on the Order Paper. The present arrangements, which are known to the House, are that the majority of elected members of six has been arrived at after very full consultation and lengthy discussions with all concerned, including the Rulers. My right hon. Friend thinks that no useful purpose will be served by upsetting the arrangement.

Mr. Rankin

On a point of order. Surely my Question deals with elections which arise from the Constitution?

Mr. J. Griffiths

Is the Minister aware that both sides of the House have had opportunities of consultation with the delegations which recently visited this country from the two organisations which represent the two main communities, the Malaya to work the Constitution satis-utmost importance that we should keep the support and co-operation of these communities since the future of Malaya depends on racial unity. Would it be possible, within the terms of the constitution now promulgated, for consideration to be given to these seven nominated members at the discretion of the High Commissioner being used in such a way as to go at any rate part of the way to meet their point that they should have an effective elected majority in Malaya and responsibility in the Government?

Mr. Hopkinson

I would not dissent in any way from what the right hon. Member has said about the necessity of getting the assent of all the people in Malaya to work the constitution satisfactorily. My right hon. Friend has seen this delegation and had a very friendly talk with them the other day. He is still in correspondence with them. The divergences of view are not, I think, so great as sometimes has been thought, and the field of disagreement is really very small. My right hon. Friend is writing a letter to them, which I think will be published in due course, but the obligation clearly is on them to consider it themselves. They have to refer it to their friends in the Federation, and I do not think it would be useful for me to pursue any further detailed points today at Question time.

Mr. J. Griffiths

May I ask whether there is any chance of settling this point by the method I have suggested, or any other method?

Mr. Wyatt

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, one of these Questions was mine, but you did not call me and I was not allowed to say anything.

Mr. Speaker

I am afraid the hon. Member was cut out by his own Front Bench.