HC Deb 11 December 1946 vol 431 cc228-9W
98. Squadron-Leader Donner

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will now cause to be published, or make a full statement upon, the new draft treaty affecting the future constitution of Malaya.

Mr. Creech Jones

Discussions have proceeded during the past few months with the Malaya Rulers and representatives, and proposals have emerged for a revised constitution. These proposals have now been transmitted to London and have been under consideration by His Majesty's Government. I cannot at present give details of these proposals, since certain points are still under discussion, but I hope the full proposals will be published in the near future. I must emphasise, however, that there is no question of His Majesty's Government giving final approval of the proposals until all other interested communities, besides the Malays, have been given full and free opportunity to express their views. In view of the importance of this matter, I append a statement setting out the position which has now been reached:

For some months past the Governor-General and the Governor of the Malayan Union have been engaged in discussions with Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers and with Malay political leaders in an endeavour to elaborate proposals which would overcome the objections of our Malay friends to the form of the Malayan Union Constitution, and would at the same time preserve the fundamental objectives of His Majesty's Government, namely, the establishment in Malaya of a strong central Government, with control over all matters of importance to the progress and welfare of the country as a whole, and the creation of a form of common citizenship which will be open to all those who regard Malaya as their real home and as the object of their loyalty.

These discussions have now been completed, and full proposals, which have received the approval of Their Highnesses, have been submitted for the scrutiny of His Majesty's Government. I am not yet at liberty to divulge the substance of these proposals, since there are a few points which are being referred back to the Malay representatives for further examination. But I am happy to say that, subject to the satisfactory resolution of these outstanding points, which should, I feel sure, present, no serious difficulty, the essential features of the present proposals, which represent the outcome of much patient and devoted work and much constructive good will on both sides, appear to His Majesty's Government to be calculated to achieve those fundamental objectives in Malaya for which they themselves have always striven.

There can be no question, however, of His Majesty's Government reaching any final decision on any of the matters involved until all interested communities in Malaya have had full and free opportunity of expressing their views. I am glad to say that the necessity of consulting to the fullest extent the other interested communities has been clearly appreciated by the Malay representatives themselves. It its now intended, therefore, that the proposals should, with the minimum of delay, form the subject of wider discussions in Malaya. His Majesty's Government will again consider the matter in the light of the results of these discussions, and at that stage the House will be given the opportunity of commenting on the proposals as a whole. Meanwhile, copies of the proposals as published in Malaya will be placed in the Library of the House, as soon as they are received.

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