HC Deb 09 July 1963 vol 680 cc1034-5
23. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what information he has about progress made towards Brunei's entry into the Malaysian Federation.

Mr. Fisher

As the hon. Member will know, the Malaysia Agreement was signed last night without Brunei.

Mr. Sorensen

Could the hon. Gentleman give us a little more information? Does this mean that Brunei is permanently out of the Federation? Does it mean that Brunei can come in at any time? Does it mean that negotiations are still proceeding? Could the hon. Gentleman give a little more information about the possibility of Brunei coming into the Federation in the way originally anticipated?

Mr. Fisher

The advice of Her Majesty's Government to the Sultan has always been that it is in the best interests of Brunei to join. That advice still stands. I cannot speak for the Sultan as to his intentions, but there is no reason to suppose that the negotiations cannot be resumed.

Sir J. Barlow rose

Mr. Brockway

On a point of order. Yesterday an Agreement was signed between the Prime Minister of Singapore, the Prime Minister of Malaya, and Sarawak and North Borneo. That agreement has just been reported to the House of Commons in a few phrases. Ought not the House of Commons which is responsible for this matter to have a full statement from the Minister at the end of Questions today?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a point of order for me.

Sir J. Barlow

Is my hon. Friend aware that both sides of the House have welcomed this new agreement and congratulate Tunku Abdul Raman on his statesmanlike ability in arranging this with our Government?

Mr. Fisher

I thank my hon. Friend very much indeed.

Mr. Bottomley

Can the Under-Secretary say whether a statement will be made about the successful conclusion of these talks and whether and when legislation will be introduced?

Mr. Fisher

I am sure that my right hon. Friend would have liked to have made a statement today. He has been engaged on this problem night and day for the past four or five days. I am sure that his inclination would have been to make a statement, but straight from these negotiations he went off early this morning to British Guiana and therefore he could not make one. These Territories do not fall within my responsibilities and therefore I was not present at these discussions on Malaysia. Possibly it would be better for the House to await my right hon. Friend's return than to accept a third-hand statement from me which would not be really satisfactory.

Mr. Bottomley rose

Mr. Speaker

We really must get on.

Forward to