§ 10.18 p.m.
§ LORD AILWYN rose to ask His Majesty's Government whether they are in a position to make a statement on the present security position in Malaya. The noble Lord said: My Lords, in rising to ask the question standing in my name on the Order Paper—notice of which I have given to the noble Earl who is to reply—I am asking information on a number of points relating to the security of life and property in Malaya. A fortnight ago—on June 16 to be exact—your Lordships were informed, in answer to a question which I put to His Majesty's Government, that a state of emergency had already been proclaimed in three areas of Malaya, and that the High Commissioner was exercising the special powers which he is entitled to use in that state of emergency. Since that time your Lordships will be aware that those powers have been considerably enlarged and, if Press reports are to be believed, the area in which they are being used has now been extended to cover practically the whole of Malaya.
§ I am sure I speak for the majority of your Lordships when I say that we greatly welcome the energy with which the matter is now being pursued, but what I am unable to do is to share the complacency displayed by the noble Earl a fortnight ago when he expressed, to use his own words, his complete satisfaction that the necessary steps were taken in time. I think that your Lordships are entitled to know whether in fact the proclamation of the state of emergency was not somewhat belated. I ask the noble Earl to observe that I am trying to be studiously moderate in the language which I am using. The wave of crime began, I understand, in the middle of May this year. As long ago as February, when I happened to be in the country, the police were faced with a difficult and dangerous situation in attempting to round up marauding bands of what were described to me, on the highest authority, as Chinese killers who shot at sight.
§ At that time, the Governor-General as he was then called, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, was out of the country, and it may well be that the High Commissioner did not possess authority to proclaim a state of emergency without 268 reference to Whitehall. Perhaps the noble Earl will tell the House what powers were, in fact, vested in the High Commissioner during that period and what powers the Governor-General himself, or the Commissioner-General, as he is now called, possesses in the matter of proclaiming a state of emergency without the necessity, and therefore the delay, of referring to London. The crux of the matter is this: Were emergency powers sought in time and if not, why not? If, as I gathered from the noble Earl's reply the other day, they were sought in time, what was the reason for delay in putting them into execution? I must press the noble Earl on this point, as all my information is to the effect that very considerable dissatisfaction exists, and has existed for months past, up and down the Federation of Malaya at the dilatoriness of the Malayan Government, at the tardiness with which they recognised the gravity of the situation and at their failure to take in time the firm and resolute measures required to combat it.
§ I pass to the police. I had the privilege of meeting the Police Commissioner and of attending a police tattoo at their depôt in Kuala Lumpur and I was greatly impressed with their appearance, their drill and their alertness. Their rifle drill was quite outstanding. I should like to ask the noble Earl what is the strength to-day of the Malayan police; how much they are below their recognised numbers; and what steps were taken before this wave of crime started to make good that shortage. What is the position to-day regarding recruiting and training of the police? Above all, what is the situation regarding their equipment, which, I understand, has always been the chief difficulty with which they have had to contend? Is every possible step being taken to put this matter of equipment right and is it being treated as a matter of extreme urgency? Lastly, what casualties have that gallant force suffered in their extremely difficult and hazardous task of hunting down these murderers?
§ With regard to troops, has it been possible to meet all demands made for their assistance, and are His Majesty's Government satisfied that a sufficient force remains in reserve to meet or to cope with all emergency calls? The murders that have been committed in the course of this campaign of crime and 269 violence appear to have been largely those of European managers of rubber plantations and of officials of the Kuomintang, the National Government—that is, Chinese in positions of authority. Can the noble Earl give the numbers of casualties under both these headings during these last few months? Can the noble Earl also say whether the Malays themselves have been molested at all? Can he say, further, whether there have been any of these crimes in the tin mine areas and, if so, what were the victims there? Will he say whether these murdering bandits are all believed to be foreign-born Chinese? Are they all supposed to be Straits-born Chinese, or are there believed to be among them certain numbers of foreign-born Chinese? Further, may there possibly be aborigines and others from the Siamese borders, and the vicinity and beyond?
§ I should like to hear whether the noble Earl and His Majesty's Government accept the theory that these crimes are all Communist-inspired, or whether some of this violence may not be due to the dissatisfaction, and resentment felt by the indigent Chinese at what they regard as their unfair treatment—or, rather, their unequal treatment and unfair representation on the Councils of the new Federation of Malaya. I should like to ask, too, whether the report called for by the Secretary of State on the murder of Mr. John Ramsden in his house on June 8 has yet been received. Are His Majesty's Government satisfied that every possible step has been taken and is being taken for the protection of the planters and others in isolated areas, and that no stone is being left unturned to round up, track down and bring to justice the men who are responsible for all these dastardly crimes? My last word is this. We learn from the Press that the High Commissioner is being recalled for consultations. His Majesty's Government will, of course, give careful consideration, in the light of recent evidence and of existing conditions, to the desirability of any change in administration which may serve to restore some of that confidence which has been lost among those who have to live and work in the disturbed conditions in Malaya to-day.
§ 10.28 p.m.
§ LORD MANCROFT
My Lords, I should like to ask one or two questions 270 which arise directly out of the question asked by my noble friend, Lord Ailwyn. The first question is in conection with the defence forces. Is the noble Earl satisfied that there are sufficient Indian and British troops—that is, Gurkha troops—available to the authorities in Malaya? Have there been any requests for further troops and has it been possible to meet those requests? Further, is he satisfied that the British troops available are sufficiently experienced for this particularly arduous task? I ask that question in particular because earlier this week in a report in the Daily Express from their correspondent in Malaya, it was suggested that the British troops were not fully trained and not really capable of carrying out their task. Can the noble Earl give us any information about that matter? If reinforcements are needed, are they available? Would it not be possible to make available some troops and police who have gained experience in this type of work in Palestine and are now available?
My next question is in connection with Ceylon troops of the Sinhalese Picneer Corps who are stationed in Malaya. Can the noble Lord say what they are doing? During the last two months there have been reports on two occasions of a state of affairs amongst the troops of the Sinhalese Pioneer Corps which very nearly amounted to mutiny and necessitated Gurkha troops being assigned to guard their lines. It seems a pity to waste Gurkha troops to carry out these duties of guarding recalcitrant troops from the Ceylon Pioneer Corps when they could be used in more important tasks in Malaya. The last question I want to ask concerns the actual command of the troops of Malaya. It has also been reported in the Press that the General Officer Commanding is coming home at the expiration of his term of service. Is the noble Earl satisfied that this is the right moment for a change in the appointment of the senior officer commanding in Malaya? And, if it is necessary, has his successor been given adequate time fully to appreciate the situation and to make all necessary contacts on taking over from his predecessor?
§ 10.31 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF GLASGOW
My Lords, I wish to support my noble friend in a very few words. As he has said, there 271 have been dastardly crimes committed in Malaya; more than forty murders have taken place during May and June. It is almost impossible to believe that the administration had no inkling of what was going on. There is, I presume, a C.I.D. in Malaya, just as there is in this country. I should like to supplement the question the noble Lord has asked by asking the noble Earl who is to reply whether the police warned the Administration months ago that trouble was likely to occur, and whether the fact that active repressive measures were not taken was due to a difference of opinion between the police, the military and the civil Administration. One realises that the civil Administration is responsible, but if they refused to take the counsel of those who should advise them on such matters, they have, to put it mildly, made a regrettable mistake, and one which has cost invaluable lives.
§ 10.33 p.m.
My Lords, I would like to support my noble friend Lord Ailwyn in the question he has asked. I would like to ask the noble Earl who is going to reply just one question. Are His Majesty's Government satisfied that the air bases, both R.A.F. and civil, are fully protected? Your Lordships know how the lack of air cover, and the fall of the air bases, greatly contributed to the fall of Malaya and the loss which we sustained there. It must be realised that Malaya is our air gateway to the Dominions of Australia and New Zealand. I hope the Government are fully satisfied as to the protection of our air route to those Dominions.
§ 10.34 p.m.
My Lords, we are very much indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Ailwyn, for raising this question, but I deplore the fact that this issue should be debated at this time of night. It is an issue not only of tremendous importance to Malaya itself, but to this country and to the world. However, I am sure my noble friend in asking his question at this time did so in the belief that it was in the best interest of the matter with which he is concerned. I am sure the House will accept it from that point of view. My noble friend Lord Ailwyn has raised many questions.
272 My noble friends Lord Glasgow and Lord Mancroft, and the noble Lord who has just sat down, raised other questions. I hope the noble Earl who is to reply will be able to give satisfactory answers to them, although I hardly believe that that is possible. I think we have to go back to the early stages of this problem. The French have a very good saying, C'est le premier pas qui coûte—it is the first step that counts. When one thinks back, one realises that the whole story of Malaya since 1945 has been a very unhappy one, and full of vicissitudes.
The first step when this Government came into power was to attempt to set up what they then called a Malayan Union with a Malayan citizenship. The unfortunate Malays, and the other races in that Peninsula, were more than dazed—they had hardly woken up from the Japanese occupation. That created tremendous difficulties, heartburnings and troubles in the Peninsula, both amongst Malays and amongst the other races. At this time of night I do not want to go into a detailed story of what happened, but finally, after representations which were urgently made in your Lordships' House and in another place, the Government agreed to alter their policy, and sent out Mr. Malcolm MacDonald with almost a free hand to see what could be done to alleviate the tragic situation which had by that time arisen in the country. The Malays themselves, who had been our most wholehearted supporters and loyal subjects, had adopted the attitude of marching in big columns through the towns and the cities, holding up flags objecting to the British occupation. Mr. MacDonald went out there and succeeded, through the free hand that he was given, in suggesting a Constitution which to a certain extent alleviated that position.
That was the beginning of our troubles. Towards the end of 1946, the planters and European miners had realised that they were in great danger on their plantations and in their mines. They urged the High Commissioner to appoint a special constabulary. The High Commissioner paid no heed to their warnings and, so far as I can learn, has paid little heed since then, otherwise we should not find the position in Malaya today as has been described by my noble friend Lord Ailwyn. I consider that that was very blameworthy, and I do not believe that there is a single planter or miner 273 in Malaya to-day but who blames the High Commissioner for not listening to their warnings.
Time went on, and the Chinese were not satisfied with the Constitution which was granted. The Chinese comprise nearly 50 per cent. of the population of Malaya and Singapore. They considered that they had not had a fair deal. That may or may not be true—personally, I do not believe it is. Nevertheless, that was their view, and, consequently, they were easily led into the Communistic atmosphere which the Communists from China attempted to impose, and did impose, upon them. To-day, as a result of that, and as a result of the strong feelings that were aroused between the Malayans and the Chinese, we have the conditions which now exist in Malaya. As my noble friend remarked in the course of his speech, there are many Chinese who are Communists but who have been born in Malaya. I want to ask the noble Earl what he is going to do with those people. Under the Constitution which has been granted, they become Malayan citizens. Many of them are the people who are causing all these troubles to-day, who are murdering and looting and so on. What are the Government going to do with them? I think we require an answer on that point. Are the Government going to deport them, to send them back to China to assemble with their Communistic fellows? Or are they going to keep them there and put them in concentration camps? It is quite certain that so long as the Chinese Communists, whether they are born in Malaya or not, are left in Malaya, there will be this trouble. I think we have arrived at a position when the Government must tell us what they intend to do.
I should like to ask another question. What are the Government going to do with regard to Singapore? Singapore is a vital strategic point in connection with our Far Eastern policy. Is Singapore to remain as a defended port, or is it, as has been said, to be grouped with the mainland, with the object of making it part of the Malayan Federal Union? About three-quarters of the population of Singapore are Chinese, and if that is done it will mean handing over this strategic point to the Chinese, and probably to the Chinese Communists in co-operation with the Communists in China. That is a vital question, so far as the Empire 274 and our interests in the Far East are concerned. I want to ask the noble Earl what the Government are going to do in regard to that. If he is not able to answer that question to-night, I hope that the Government will give the problem their earnest consideration, and will not relinquish a hold on Singapore or hand it over to the Malayan Federal Union.
As I have said, I am sorry that my noble friend did not delay this question until two or three days hence, when we might have had a really good debate on it. But I think it is very important, not only from the point of view of our situation in the Far East, but also from the point of view of the lives of our planters and our miners in Malaya. I hate even to mention the economic aspect in the same breath as the lives of our planters and miners, but it is important, also, from the point of view of dollars that, if possible, we maintain this Peninsula in the same state of prosperity and peace as that in which it was before the Second World War.
§ 10.45 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
My Lords, I am sure that the Government in both Houses of Parliament and people outside, will appreciate the deep concern that has been shown by those noble Lords who have spoken this evening about recent events in Malaya. It was on June 16, in reply to a question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Ailwyn, that I gave your Lordships a brief account of the wave of violence and lawlessness which was then sweeping across the Federation of Malaya. On that day, three European planters had been murdered by a band of armed Chinese at Sungei Siput in Perak, and two Chinese, one on an estate in Perak and one on an estate in Johore, where strikes had lately ended, were also murdered. That was on June 16. The state of emergency which was declared by the High Commissioner in that area of Perak and in two areas of Johore on June 16 was extended two days later, on June 18, to the whole of the Federation, and—this was referred to in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Ailwyn—as a precautionary measure, the Governor of Singapore proclaimed a state of emergency there on June 24.
The bands of gangsters which perpetrated the crimes which I have 275 mentioned have continued their outrages. Between June 16 and June 29, nineteen persons, all Asiatics, have been killed and there have been sixteen attempted murders. However, the measures which have been taken under the state of emergency have had some degree of success. More than 1,000 people have been arrested either for possessing arms or because they were suspected of menacing public order. Forty-one people have been arrested in connection with the various murders and attempts at murder. The strike situation is also improving. On June 4 there were twenty-seven strikes involving 6,900 people. On June 29 there were but eight strikes in progress—on rubber estates—involving no more than 817 workers. The emergency measures which have been taken are very far-reaching. For example, the death penalty has been reimposed for the simple offence of unlawfully carrying arms—carrying arms without a licence, not using them. The police and Army may arrest without warrant, detention may be ordered, and searches of persons and premises may be carried out without warrant. Wherever necessary, a curfew may be imposed and restrictions placed on the movement of vehicles and persons. These restrictions and the deployment of Army units in support of the police should curtail the operations of these gangsters and bring many of them into the net spread by the police and the Army.
Consideration has also been given to the best method of ridding the country of, those who abuse its hospitality. This was referred to at some length by the noble Viscount, Lord Elibank. The law in force at the moment in the Malay States permits the deportation of any person in a State from Federation territory. The law in force in the British Settlements of Penang and Malacca, which are now part of the Federation, permits deportation of aliens only—that is to say, there is no deportation of British subjects. The practice throughout the Federation since the Settlements were joined constitutionally with the States has been to take action against aliens only. That has been the practice.
May I interrupt the noble Earl to ask where they are deported? Or is that an indiscreet question?
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
Not in the least. Deportation is to any country which consents to take the persons who are deported, and in fact the country which has taken most of the individuals who have been deported has been China. Experience has shown that this policy of deportation has enabled some persons of British nationality who have been concerned in fomenting and perpetrating acts of violence to evade their just deserts. It has, therefore, been decided that, as a matter of policy, proceedings under the banishment law in force in the States may be taken against British subjects who do not belong to Malaya—that is to say, the penalty of banishment has been ex-tended from aliens to British subjects. In this way, persons who are not citizens of the Federation of Malaya will be liable to deportation, and legislation will be introduced, in the case of the Settlements, to permit the same policy to be followed there—that is, in the case of Penang and Malacca.
On June 16 I informed your Lordships that other legislation which was being drafted to deal with the situation which has developed in Malaya was well on the way to completion, and I can inform your Lordships that this legislation will be introduced into the Legislative Council of the Federation of Malaya when it assembles on July 5. Your Lordships will therefore realise that at this moment the Executive, under the Essential Regulations which have been proclaimed and which can be made in a state of emergency, is armed with very wide powers for the maintenance of law and order and for the safeguarding of the life and property of the community. There is no question, therefore, that the Executive is being hampered in its task. Careful thought has also been given to supplementing the forces at its disposal. I am sure your Lordships will appreciate that, for security reasons, I am not in a position to give the precise strength and locations of the Army in Malaya and Singapore. These armed forces include British, Gurkha and Malay units of some considerable strength, and we have no reason to suppose that these forces will be unable to give the support which the civil power requires to back it up in the present situation, and at this moment the Army is giving the utmost co-operation to the civil authorities. Troops are operating both in an active rôle, by patrolling and acting 277 offensively against bands of gangsters, and also by relieving the police of certain static duties, such as guarding prisons and key points. So, too, the Navy and the R.A.F. are co-operating in this campaign against lawlessness.
Reference has been made to the police. A force of special constabulary is being organised to strengthen the police and enrolment is going forward. The Federal Government has decided to increase the police force in the following ways: by further recruitment and training of local personnel, which has already been in train for the past two weeks; and by the formation of a Frontier Force or Gendarmerie for the Northern Frontier, which is subject to the Executive Council's approval when details have been worked out. Furthermore, some civil officers have been diverted from ordinary duties to assist in the administration work of the police force and for organising and directing the special constabulary. A great deal of progress has been made in getting additional equipment for the police forces and for local assistance which may be given to the police. This strengthening of the police has also taken place in Singapore. In Singapore recruitment for the regular police force has been continued up to the complete establishment of 3,000 persons. Three hundred extra recruits have been enrolled, and special and volunteer constabulary in addition to the police are being successfully recruited.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
Yes. The special constabulary are laymen; they are not trained policemen. Now both these Governments, the Government of Singapore and the Government of the Federation——
§ LORD AILWYN
I think the noble Earl misunderstood me. I asked him whether the men being enrolled were Malays.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
Yes, but I must: qualify that by saying that it is open to Malays, Chinese or Europeans to enroll.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
It is open to Europeans, Chinese or Malays to enroll in the constabulary. Malays are just 278 as welcome as anyone else. Both Governments are giving urgent consideration to the desirability of recruiting men for the police force from any source from which recruits can be obtained.
Now may I give your Lordships some evidence of the sort of work that is being carried out by the police and the Army? Very active searches have been made for arms and ammunition. In the first five months of the year, 528 weapons of various kinds, including a number of rifles, automatics, revolvers and pistols, were seized from perons who were carrying them. A total of 951 grenades and over 100,000 rounds of ammunition have also been recovered since the beginning of the year. So this sweep for the recovery of arms which were possessed by people without any legal title to them has had considerable success. The local Governments have been empowered at all times to take proper measures for good order and government without reference to the Secretary of State for the Colonies. In the case of the Federation of Malaya, the matter is one for the High Commissioner, and in the case of Singapore for the Governor. The Commissioner-General in South East Asia, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, has a general co-ordinating function, and is not directly responsible for the administration of the territories in his area of authority. I think that possibly there was some confusion of thought on the part of Lord Ailwyn concerning the functions of the Commissioner-General. Once the situation became so grave that these sectional powers had to be entrusted to the Executive, a decision was taken without delay and the state of emergency declared.
Your Lordships may ask—indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Ailwyn, has asked—what lies behind this outbreak of violence.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I will reply to that a little later. Some incidents that have taken place are cases of plain banditry, where the motive is robbery. There have also been cases of extortion by duress or ill-treatment, and of killings for revenge, which are unconnected with any political campaign—they are just ordinary criminal cases. On the other 279 hand, there are many armed men, accustomed to guerrilla warfare, who mouth Communist slogans and spread Communist propaganda. There is a Communist Party in Malaya. Its rank-and-file are Chinese, though its overt leaders are often Indian. There are many organisations, including trade unions, permeated with Communist influences and subverted by their revolutionary doctrines. The authorities have done their utmost to encourage the growth of political awareness among the people, and extreme opinions couched in immoderate language are the first stirrings of political consciousness. But there is evidence that an armed attack is being made on the authority of the Government. These outrages are directed against the main fabric of the country's economy—against the tin mines and rubber plantations. Managers and their staffs are killed, and their workpeople intimidated into withholding their labour. In spite of this outbreak of violence, managers and labour alike—and I should like to pay tribute to their fortitude—stay at their work on the plantations and in the mines. In spite of this constant danger from the lurking forces of violence in the jungle, and the actual crimes that have taken place, these managers and their men, on remote estates and mines, and also their womenfolk, have carried on undismayed.
I would not like the House to think that these outbreaks of violence are due to the conditions of life of the working men in Malaya. Their conditions are steadily improving. Wages have risen considerably since the war, with the rapidly rising cost of living. The ration of rice is small and the purchase of rice in the black market, which we cannot prevent, adds greatly to the expense of everyday life. There is in Malaya full employment, a state of affairs which did not prevail for many years before the war. Machinery for negotiation and conciliation has been devised and has already shown that, given a reasonable chance, it can work extremely well. Schemes for social welfare are in operation and more schemes are planned. Finally, Malaya is now working with a domiciled labour force and is no longer dependent on the flow of immigrant labour from India and China which before the war maintained the country's industries at their full level of employment. I think it can be said 280 without exaggeration that prospects for the working people in Malaya have never been brighter than they are to-day.
Besides the attacks on those who direct or work in the principal industries of Malaya, there have been attacks on the political opponents of these gangsters, on those who have given evidence in cases of intimidation, on the police, who have been acting according to their various duties in different parts of the country, and particularly on police stations. There is evidence that the gangs are organised with camps and training centres in the jungle. Since the end of the war, Malaya has been an island of comparative peace in the disturbed world of South-East Asia. I believe the great mass of people in Malaya repudiate most energetically the outrages which have been committed and call on those in authority for the elimination of those responsible for these dastardly crimes. We, and those who are acting in positions of responsibility in Malaya, are making every effort to destroy these violent men and to restore at the earliest possible moment to every part of the country the peace and security which has been enjoyed under British rule in the past.
The noble Lord, Lord Ailwyn, asked me a number of questions, some of which I lave answered and some of which I have not referred to. I hope that the noble Lord and the House will not consider it trespassing upon their time at this late hour if I reply to some of the questions which I have not yet answered. The noble Lord asked whether I had anything further to say about the murder of Mr. John Ramsden on June 8. Yes, a Malay by the name of Mahomed Zain has been arrested and charged with this murder. The noble Lord also asked what powers were vested in the Commissioner-General in South-East Asia to proclaim a state of emergency without reference to London. The Commissioner has no executive function. That ought to be made absolutely clear. The responsibility for declaring a state of emergency rests with the High Commissioner in the Federation of Malaya and with the Governor, in the case of Singapore. Neither of these authorities is required to refer to London and, in point of fact, a state of emergency was proclaimed in Malaya without reference to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I cannot give the noble Lord the date offhand, but I will see that he gets it. It was a date at the beginning of last month.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
No. Sir Edward Gent is the High Commissioner for Malaya and Sir Franklin Gimson is the Governor of Singapore. The noble Lord also asked whether emergency powers were sought in time. So far as the evidence which we have at our disposal in my Department is an indication of whether or not timely action was taken, I can assure the noble Lord that we have no reason whatever to think that the authorities on the spot were tardy in declaring a state of emergency. The noble Lord went on to ask, if these powers were taken in time, why there was any delay in putting them into operation. There was, in fact, no delay at all. The first decision to proclaim a state of emergency (I think I can give the noble Lord the date for which he asked) was taken on June 16, and the Emergency Regulations which the Governor was empowered to make once a state of emergency was proclaimed were promulgated on the very same day. There was no hiatus between the two.
§ LORD AILWYN
These Chinese killers were going about in February, and, I understand, long before that. I know they were in February, because I was in the country. These things did not happen until June.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
Strong measures were being taken against individuals who had been guilty of violence at a very much earlier date. The noble Lord asked what is the strength of the Malayan police, and whether the figure at the moment is below the normal figure. An approximate figure for the strength of the Malayan police is 10,000 persons, of whom 9,500 are constables. This is the normal establishment of the Malayan police so there is no deficiency there. The noble Lord also 282 asked whether the police are adequately equipped, and whether they are getting the equipment they want. I can assure him that we are providing all the additional equipment for which the police have asked. Transport, for example, is being lent by the Army and the R.A.F. Some further equipment has been obtained from this country, and radio equipment is being flown out. The noble Lord asked about the number of casualties sustained by the Malayan police since these disorders began. We have no report of fatal casualties specifically referring to the police in Malaya.
The noble Lord asked—I think this was also a question asked by Lord Mancroft—whether we have sufficient troops in the country to reinforce the police. I think I replied in the course of my opening remarks that in our view there is adequate and ample military support for the police in Malaya. That also applies to the reserves on which the a Armed Forces have to rely in case of formidable opposition. We have reserves which are sufficient to meet any contingency we can foresee. The noble Lord asked about the number of Kuomintang Chinese who have been killed since the beginning of this outbreak of violence. I cannot give the noble Lord figures for the Kuomintang Chinese, but I can tell him that in all thirty-seven Asiatics have been killed, a figure which includes Chinese and Malays, and Chinese of different political persuasions. He may legitimately infer from this statement that Malays also have been the victims of these attacks.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I do not think the noble Lord asked me specifically for the figure of Europeans.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I am sorry I have not that figure, but I will obtain it at the earliest possible moment and give it to the noble Lord. The noble Lord asked about outrages in the tin mines. One European manager has been killed. He also asked whether the murderers are believed to be Straits-born Chinese or foreign-born Chinese. Of course, until the murderers are rounded up, tried and 283 convicted, it is impossible for us to tell what their origin is, but we have good reason to suppose that most of the murderers are foreign-born Chinese, which I imagine was the view the noble Lord himself held. I will only say that we have naturally been following with great anxiety and the closest interest the whole trend of events in Malaya. We are satisfied that the authorities on the spot are taking the most energetic measures to deal with these outbreaks of violence, and I can assure noble Lords that the authorities there are receiving the utmost possible support that we can give, not only in the Colonial Office but in the other Departments of the Government in Whitehall.
§ 11.12 p.m.
§ LORD LLEWELLIN
My Lords, before we depart from this subject, I would remark that it is obviously one which this House ought to keep under very careful review. I think many of us rather suspect that, although adequate action may now be being taken, it was not taken early enough. I hope the Government will inquire whether those responsible really took action in time, having been warned, as I understand, in very good time. If they had taken action earlier, one suspects that a lot of these incidents might well have been prevented. I am very glad to hear that everybody on the spot will have the full support of His Majesty's Government in taking effective action to wipe out this wave of violence which seems to have temporarily overcome that once very happy country, as it was when I was there. For myself, I would only say that I have complete confidence in Mr. Malcolm MacDonald in all that he does, having worked with him when he was in Canada. I should think that since he has taken a guiding hand in this matter, things may well be better than they were before. I hope the Government will inquire whether steps were actively taken before, or whether anybody was not active enough when we had sufficient warning. I hope some steps will be taken about that.
§ THE EARL OF GLASGOW
My Lords, before the debate closes, may I ask the noble Earl whether there have been any differences between the police and the military and civil Administration, and 284 whether those differences may possibly have caused a rather late decision on the whole question of security?
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
So far as I am aware, there has been the most harmonious and intimate co-operation between the civil authorities and the military in Malaya.
My Lords, before the noble Earl sits down, I would like to ask one question. Will the noble Earl bear in mind what I said about Singapore and keeping it independent, having regard to its vital position in the Far Eastern route? And will he bring to the notice of the Colonial Secretary the few words that I ventured to utter about this matter? I said that I would not expect an answer to-night, but he did not refer to it in his reply so I wish to return to it again.
§ THE EARL OF LISTOWEL
I will gladly do that. As the noble Viscount said, he did not expect a reply to-night.