HC Deb 05 February 1947 vol 432 cc357-8W
88 and 89. Mr. Pritt

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he will make provision that the qualifications for electors of the Singapore Municipal Council shall not include either a property limit or British citizenship, since either of these conditions would disqualify large numbers of the population; and whether he will secure the representation on the council of Malayan people of all races, not by the system of nominated members but by election on a basis of universal suffrage;

(2) why the Singapore Municipal Constitution Committee contained no representatives of any political party or trade union; why no opportunity was given to any organisation or person to make any representations to it except by letter; and whether any person who sent any such letter was invited to attend before the committee.

Mr. Creech Jones

Shortly after its establishment, the committee to which the hon. Member refers, invited expressions of view from the public in Singapore on the matters with which it was concerned. This invitation was widely publicised in the local Press. In response, letters were received from individuals and organisations, but no requests were made for personal appearances before the committee which considered, in the circumstances, that personal interviews were unnecessary. The Governor states that there are at the present time in Singapore no political parties in the sense understood in England and thus there is no such body from which representatives could be chosen to sit on the committee. Similarly, at the time when the committee was sitting, there were no responsible registered trade unions existing in Singapore. The recommendations in the committee's report for the qualifications of electors are still under consideration locally, and it is hoped that they will shortly be discussed by the full body of Municipal Commissioners, representing a wide variety of interests in the Colony.

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