Chinese Student, Singapore (Prisonsentence)

Oral Answers to Questions — East Africa – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th December 1954.

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Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston 12:00 am, 8th December 1954

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will recommend the exercise of the Prerogative of mercy in the case of the Chinese school student in Singapore who was sentenced to three years' rigorous imprisonment on 3rd November last for being in posses- sion of a certain periodical which was found under the mattress of his bed.

Photo of Mr Henry Hopkinson Mr Henry Hopkinson , Taunton

No, Sir. The exercise of Her Majesty's Prerogative of mercy has been delegated to the Governor, and it would be contrary to long-established practice for the Secretary of State to intervene.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston

In view of the vicious nature of this sentence—which cannot promote good relations in Malaya—does not the Minister agree that he should bring his influence to bear upon the Governor to get him to reconsider the sentence?

Photo of Mr Henry Hopkinson Mr Henry Hopkinson , Taunton

The facts of this case are that this student was found in possession not of a periodical but of a strongly-worded though uncompleted Communist Party directive, of which he was the author. As the House is aware, the Communists are seeking to exploit to the uttermost the Chinese schools in the Colony, and there is need for very strong measures to combat this very real danger.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Tradeston

Is it not the case that the Minister is trying to bring the British way of life into active practice in Malaya? Does the treatment of this man represent the British way of life?