HC Deb 11 July 1906 vol 160 cc869-70
SIR C. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

I beg to ask the Under-secretary of State for the Colonies whether the Crown Colony called the Straits Settlements has been induced to acquire certain docks at Singapore from a company called the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company, at a cost of about £5,500,000; whether the move for the acquisition of these docks originated with the Committee of Imperial Defence; will he say by whom were the arbitrators nominated to settle the cost, and by whom was the referee or umpire in the arbitration appointed; whether he will briefly state the grounds on which the acquisition of these docks was recommended or approved by the late Government, and whether the present Government approve of the acquisition and of the reasons assigned therefore by their predecessors; and whether he will state the names and addresses of the directors and principal shareholders of the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company, and say if the award works out at $755 per $100 share.


The undertaking of the Tanjong Pagar Dock Company was compulsorily acquired by the Government of the Straits Settlements under the provisions of a Colonial Ordinance passed in 1905. the total amount of the award given by the umpire is about £3,319,000. The proposal for the acquisition of the docks did not originate with the Committee of Imperial Defence. The Colonial Government and the company each nominated an arbitrator, and those two arbitrators appointed their umpire. I will place in the Library of the House a copy of the Ordinance to which I have referred, and of the Proceedings of the Legislative Council for 1905. If the hon. Member will refer to page 9 of the Appendix to the volume, he will find a despatch, dated November 4th, 1904, from the late Secretary of State, which sots out fully the reasons for suggesting the acquisition of this undertaking. The Secretary of State does not feel called upon to review a transaction which was wholly concluded before the sanction of the present Ministry to office, and which has been the subject of a legally constituted tribunal of arbitration. The Directors are Messrs. \V. P. Waddell, J. E. Romenij, C. Sugden, W. H. Shelford, and A. G. Faber; they are all resident in Singapore. I have no official information as to the names and addresses of the principal shareholders, but I observe that a list has appeared on more than one occasion in a London financial newspaper. I The calculation in the last part of the 1 Question is approximately correct.