HC Deb 20 January 1959 vol 598 cc18-9
26. Mrs. White

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what evidence has been received of intimidation by secret societies in Singapore; and what steps are being taken to ensure that there shall be no improper interference with political activities before the forthcoming election.

Mr. J. Amery

Following allegations of interference by secret societies in by-elections in 1957, the Singapore Government appointed a Commission of Enquiry, most of whose recommendations have been accepted and will shortly be included in legislation. Copies of the Report of this Commission are available in the Library.

Mrs. White

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the so-called secret societies consist not infrequently of strong-arm men or even thugs who can employ the most reprehensible methods? Is he satisfied that there will be no intimidation of this sort in the forthcoming months?

Mr. Amery

It is impossible to guarantee that there will be no intimidation at all, because there has been a tendency in the past for certain candidates to use secret societies, but we must hope that the recommendations of the Commission will minimise this danger to a great extent.