HC Deb 08 March 1946 vol 420 cc135-8W
Flight-Lieutenant Haire

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what further views have been received from the Malay rulers on the policy of His Majesty's Government in regard to Malaya.

Mr. Creech Jones

First, some of the rulers have asked that the separate position of the individual States and the individual rulers, and their independence from any central Malayan authority, should be preserved to a greater degree than is proposed under the new policy. Particular points which have been made under this head are as follow:

  1. (a) that the State Governments should control their own finances and allot money to the Central Government.
  2. (b) that alienation of State land should be a matter for decision by each State Council,
  3. (c) that the Rulers should have control over the decisions of the State Councils and over their membership,
  4. (d) that the oath of allegiance should be to the Ruler in each State and not to the Malayan Union.

Secondly, it has been strongly represented by some of the rulers that the proposal to make legislation on Muhammadan religious matters subject to the Governor's consent represents an unwarrantable interference in Muhammadan affairs, and that the complete independence of the Malay rulers and people with regard to these affairs should be more fully safeguarded. Particular points which have been made are:

  1. (a) that it is improper for the Governor's name to appear on legislation dealing purely with Muhammadan religious affairs,
  2. (b) that the rulers should have a more complete control over the membership of the Malay Advisory Council in each State (that is to say, the selection of members to these Councils, whose functions will relate largely to Muhammadan affairs, should not be subject to the Governor's consent).

Thirdly, some of the rulers have expressed anxiety about the proposals for Malayan Union Citizenship on the grounds that these proposals may involve the submergence of the Malays in their own country and the increasing predominance of other races. The views of the rulers on this question include the following specific points:

  1. (a) As Singapore Island is not to form part of the Union, residents of Singapore should not qualify for Malayan Union citizenship,
  2. (b) if residents of Singapore are in deed to qualify for citizenship, they 137 should not qualify for public and administrative service in the Union, and especially for service on the Legislative and Executive Councils,
  3. (c) qualification for citizenship should be by birth and domicile, and should involve the ownership of property in the Union, a certain know ledge of the Malay language, and the forfeiture of all personal status and rights in an allegiance to the applicant's country of origin,
  4. (d) those who qualify automatically for citizenship by virtue of birth or 10 years residence should be required to swear an oath of allegiance to the Malayan Union, no less than those who will be naturalised.

Fourthly, a number of other points have been made on a wide range of subject. Some of these points deal with the outward forms of the maintenance of prestige by the rulers or the States. Thus, it has been urged that the postage stamps in each of the States should retain their individual character and that there should not be a common issue of stamps for the whole Malayan Union. Other points deal particularly with the position of the Malays as opposed to that of other races in the country. In this connection it has been urged that immigration should be strictly controlled, and that the policy of the reservation of Malay land should continue. Many of these points do not affect the policy itself, and will be for consideration by the Governor of the Malayan Union when he takes up his duties.