HC Deb 03 December 1947 vol 445 cc76-7W
82. Mr. Charles Smith

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when it is proposed to bring into operation the proposed new constitution for Malaya; for what reason only the Malay Rulers and representatives of the United Malays National Organisation attended the conference on 12th November to discuss administrative arrangements dependent on the new constitution; whether it is proposed to consult representatives of non-Malays; and whether he is satisfied that the Sultans and the United Malays National Organisation are fully representative of Malay opinion.

Mr. Creech Jones

As stated in paragraph 9 of Command Paper 7171, His Majesty's Government have accepted the Federation proposals for Malaya as outlined in that document. This decision was only reached after most careful study of the proposals elaborated in Malaya as a result of lengthy and exhaustive local consultations, which included full opportunity for all communities and interests to express their views. The drafting of the necessary instruments is now being completed.

The Conference mentioned was convened for the purpose of obtaining the agreement of Their Highnesses the Malay Rulers and their Malay advisers, to a number of drafting points necessary to be settled in finalising the texts of the Federation Agreement and State Agreements to which each of the Rulers will be a signatory. The Federal form of Constitution involves also the completion of detailed plans for each State administration within the Federation and a consequent change-over from the present Union Government, which were matters for the Conference of State Rulers and their advisers. I have no doubt whatever that the Rulers and U.M.N.O. are substantially representative of the majority of opinion in these matters in the Malay States.

It is hoped that it will be found practicable to bring the Federation into existence on 1st January, 1948. In any event, it will be brought into existence at the first possible moment.