HC Deb 08 July 1966 vol 731 cc835-7

11.5 a.m.

Mr. Tom Driberg (Barking)

You will recall, Mr. Speaker, that on 19th May, 1966, the House approved a Motion giving leave of absence to four hon. Members charged with the duty of presenting on its behalf a Speaker's Chair to the Council Negri of Sarawak and a Mace to the Legislative Assembly of Sabah, both those States having achieved independence within the Federation of Malaysia. This delegation consisted of the hon. Member for Richmond, Surrey (Mr. Royle), the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Mawby), my hon. Friend the Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) and myself. We were accompanied on our long journey, and greatly assisted, by the learned Clerk of the Journals.

I now have to report that this agreeable task has been duly performed. The Speaker's Chair was presented in the Chamber of the Council Negri in Kuching on 16th June; the Mace in the Chamber of the Legislative Assembly in Jesselton on 20th June. On our way to Eastern Malaysia we spent a night in Kuala Lumpur and were able to attend the State opening of the Malaysian Parliament and to hear the Gracious Speech of His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, delivered in the magnificent and—if I may say so—enviably contemporary Parliament House.

Although it was not strictly part of our formal programme, we took the opportunity when in Sarawak—as I suppose all hon. Members would wish to do, wherever in the world they may find themselves—of visiting the British troops who may shortly, with the ending of confrontation, be withdrawn from that area. Those whom we met included units of the Royal Artillery and also the 1st/10th Gurkhas. On behalf of my colleagues in the delegation, and of the House, I should like to pay tribute to the High Commissioner. Deputy High Commissioner and other British officials who helped to make our visit as enjoyable as it was and as useful as we hope it may prove to have been.

Chiefly, however, I must record our gratitude to our most kindly hosts—in particular, the Speakers of the two Assemblies and the chief Ministers and other Members of the State Governments and the Federal Government. Their courtesy and hospitality were boundless and they took pains to enable us to see as much as was possible, in so short a visit, of the natural beauty, interesting social customs and modern development of their countries.

The Speakers of both Assemblies expressed their gratitude for our gifts; and we brought home with us, as a tangible record of one of these occasions, a Resolution of thanks, passed by the Council Negri of Sarawak: in accordance with precendent, Sir, you may feel disposed to give the necessary instructions to ensure that this Resolution will appear in the Journal of the House.

Mr. Speaker, we extended to the peoples and Parliaments of Sarawak and Sabah the cordial greetings of this House; and I feel sure that it would be the wish of all hon. Members, and of those whom we represent here, that the friendship between our own nation and these two nations in far-off Asia should grow ever stronger and warmer in the years to come.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Speaker

The House will be grateful to the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) and his colleagues for the excellent way in which they have carried out the duties which we entrusted to them

In accordance with what I am sure will be the wish of the House, I shall cause: he Resolution to be entered in the Journal.