HC Deb 23 January 1957 vol 563 cc176-7
18. Mr. Moss

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on the killing of a 19-year-old girl, Maimunah Winte Abdul Hamid, in Chemor on 8th November, 1956.

Mr. Maclay

On 8th November an army patrol, on operation in the jungle near Ulu Chemor, contacted a Malay who ran away when challenged, accompanied by a woman wearing a khaki shirt. The patrol opened fire and the woman, Maimunah Binti Abdul Hamid, was killed. At the inquest the magistrate exonerated the troops and commented on the fact that local inhabitants had been repeatedly warned not to enter this operational area.

Mr. Moss

While in no way involving the troops in any form of condemnation, may I ask whether this was not the taking of an innocent life, no matter what the circumstances were? If so, has anything been done to make amends?

Mr. Maclay

The answer to the first part of the hon. Member's question is that everything possible is done to warn the public not to enter the jungle area where troops and terrorists may be contacted. This woman was wearing a khaki-coloured drill shirt and when challenged was running away with a man whom she was accompanying. Unfortunately, it is not unusual to find women armed and fighting as members of Communist terrorist groups. If the hon. Member saw the conditions in which these operations are conducted he would realise the great difficulty involved if people ignore the advice given to them to keep out of these areas. Great care is taken to see that the advice is widely known.