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Tuesday, 3 March 1970

Mr Malcolm Fraser (WANNON, VICTORIA) - There is one allegation that has been made by the honourable member not only in this House but outside it which, I think, should be corrected. He has said that the Malaysians are demanding a high rental for facilities at Butterworth. This is not true. It has also been denied by Malaysian officials. I think that, from the honourable member's experience in Malaysia, Mr Speaker, he should understand better than he apparently does the attitude that the Malaysians have to our presence there and understand better i he attitude that the Singaporeans have to our presence there. 1 would like to quote from one editorial appearing in a Malaysian newspaper which had something to say about earlier remarks of the honourable member. One Malaysian newspaper - a Kuala Lumpur newspaper - doubted that Mr Morrison 'because of his experience in the region could genuinely feel that there was any unfriendliness towards Australia on the part of the Malaysian Government or people'. The editorial described the Morrison allegations as 'cheap tactics' in a 'domestic affair' and regretted the reference to Malaysia in that context.

I think that it has become quite clear that the honourable member is seeking to use his background of alleged responsibility in this area to try to cast doubts on the defence arrangements which have been made between the countries concerned and to try to lead people to believe that there are substantial difficulties between ourselves and the Malaysians or the Singaporeans. This is not the case.

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