§ Mr. Rees-Williams
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the cut in the rice ration in British Malaya.
Mr. Creech Jones
The rice supply position has deteriorated rapidly in recent months. For a variety of reasons the exportable surplus of the main ricegrowing countries in South-East Asia during the first six months of 1947 is now estimated to be only about 62 per cent. of the total on which distribution programmes for that period had been agreed by the International. Emergency Food Council. Malaya has been able, by careful management, to maintain the rice ration at 4½ oz. per head per diem and even to increase it to 6 oz. per head in February. In view of the shortages I have referred to, the ration had to be reduced again to 4½ oz. from 18th May. The flour ration is being increased to compensate for the cut in rice. I cannot say how things will go in the next few months, but there is expected to be a lean period before the next crop is harvested at the end of the year.