HC Deb 09 October 1946 vol 427 cc49-51W
Mr. Gammans

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has any statement to make on the political situation in Malaya and the negotiations between the Government, the Malay rulers and the representatives of the United Malay National Organisation.

Mr. Creech Junes

Discussions are still proceeding. Early in August a working committee, consisting of Government representatives on one side and Malay representatives on the other, was set up to examine the various problems in detail. With one interval, this committee has been continuously at work until a few days ago. It has now adjourned for a brief respite until nth October. Both this and the previous adjournment were requested by the Malay members.

The discussions have been conducted in a frank and friendly spirit throughout, and the committee has already covered much ground. When it has completed its task, wider discussions will take place in order to give effect to His Majesty's Government's declared intention that all sections of opinion in Malaya will be consulted before any final decisions are taken. I hope that there will emerge from these consultations a scheme acceptable to all concerned, which will ensure strong central government in all necessary matters, on a basis capable of developing self-governing institutions in which all whose homes and loyalties are in Malaya may play their part.

It has been agreed between both parties to the present discussions that no interim or progress reports will be issued. It follows that reports which have appeared in the Press during the past few days, purporting to describe the progress hitherto achieved in the discussions, are entirely unofficial. On the evening of 7th October, the Governor of the Malayan Union gave a statement to the local Press which sets these reports in their true perspective. The Governor's statement reads as follows: Certain Malayan newspapers of 7th October reported articles in London Sunday newspapers purporting to outline the course of constitutional decisions in respect of Malayan Union. Any official statement on the course of constitutional discussions or on ultimate decisions which His Majesty's Government may reach would, of course, be issued with authority to the Press and public generally, and in order to avoid any misunderstanding it is desired to point out that views expressed in those articles have no official authority.

It must be emphasised that the working committee has not yet completed its task or presented its report, and that it is therefore impossible to say what recommendations will finally emerge. In any case, as stated above, all sections of opinion in Malaya, and not only the Malays, must be consulted before any decisions are taken. His Majesty's Government have constantly in mind the importance of giving the House a full statement on this subject at the earliest opportunity.

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