§ Sir J. Barlow
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware of the large number of armed robberies on rubber and coconut estates in Malaya; and what steps he proposes to take to remedy a situation which is preventing the production of rubber and copra in that country.1675W
§ Mr. Lawson
I am aware that there have been several incidents of armed robberies in Malaya since the re-occupation of that territory, but it will be appreciated that this is inevitable in the circumstances and until the police forces are fully reorganised, trained and deployed. The number and gravity of the incidents to which the hon. Member refers are less than might well have been the case. As I stated on 14th November, in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland, the military administration began to take active steps to reorganise and train the police force in Malaya soon after the reoccupation of the territory. My latest reports indicate that there has been good progress in the rebuilding of that force, and I am statisfied that all possible steps are being taken to increase its efficiency. In some areas the Army has assumed a number of police duties, thus permitting the concentration of police personnel for training and rehabilitation.