HC Deb 24 October 1956 vol 558 cc638-9
32. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to make a statement on the new Constitution for Sarawak.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

A new Constitution on the lines proposed in the Council Negri's resolution of September, 1955, was provided by the Sarawak (Constitution) Order in Council, 1956, of 3rd August, which was published in Sarawak on 14th August and is to come into operation on a date to be appointed by the Governor.

The Council Negri have welcomed the new Constitution as a real advance towards the goal of self-government". Proposals they have made to amend the Order in Council in respect of the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of the Council Negri are now being considered here.

Mr. Teeling

Does not my right hon. Friend consider that, in view of the publicity and discussion given to the constitutions of other Colonies, such as Cyprus. Malta and so on, the people of Sarawak would feel happier if in some way this Parliament could discuss their Constitution, although I am fully aware that it is a very considerable advance. Could he not think out some way in which we could make the people feel that we are interested in them?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I share my hon. Friend's desire that the people of Sarawak should know how deeply concerned we are about their affairs. I am ready to discuss with him how that fact can be made more clear to them, if that is needed.

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