HC Deb 27 July 1982 vol 28 cc906-7
2. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to end the provision of defence training to Malaysia.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Mr. Jerry Wiggin)

No, Sir.

Mr. Hooley

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that it is necessary to shout in the Chamber, but you can hear the racket being made by hon. Members on the Conservative Benches.

Is the Minister aware that we have military commitments not only to Malaysia, but to about 30 countries around the world? Is he satisfied that we can honour those commitments without becoming involved in a fracas such as occurred in the South Falklands?

Mr. Wiggin

The figure is 80, not 30, and the answer is "Yes".

Mr. Adley

Will my hon. Friend be more forthcoming in defence of our relationship with Malaysia? Does he accept that, given the threat posed to the whole region by the Soviet Union and its Vietnamese acolytes, it is essential to do whatever we can to maintain democracies in that region, particularly Malaysia, which have long traditional ties of friendship with Britain?

Mr. Wiggin

Our defence relationship with Malaysia has long been friendly. Naturally, we regret that the Malaysian Government have temporarily made competition more difficult for British firms, but our underlying relationship remains good.

Mr. Christopher Price

If we are to maintain defence commitments with countries such as Malaysia, should not the Government speak out against the three executions which are scheduled to take place in Malaysia on Thursday of this week and which cannot be justified in any way?

Mr. Wiggin

As the hon. Gentleman well knows, that is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.