Friday, November 16, 2007

WTF is the Social Contract?

Ooi Kee Beng comes up with a commentary of Malaysia's current socio-political situation. He adds nothing new to the argument, and provides no new insight into a possible solution. But the reason why I'm posting this article is because Ooi says here that the social contract is that "Non-Malays were granted citizenship rights on the condition that they recognised the special position of the Malays."

The criteria for the success of this “social contract” — still proclaimed over 50 years later by the ruling coalition as the basis for political stability — are economic growth and inter-ethnic peace. Non-Malays were granted citizenship rights on the condition that they recognised the special position of the Malays due them for being badly handicapped by the colonial economy.

Refer to attached screenshot of his article.
But in his book, A Reluctant Politician, he quotes Tun Dr Ismail as having said that it was "imperative that if the Chinese were to be persuaded into accepting Malay as the national language, they should be granted citizenship as a quid pro quo. This was the real basis of the agreement between the three partners, particularly between the Malay and the Chinese."

Refer to The Real 'Social Contract'

But regardless of whichever version he thinks is the true 'social contract' - at least his article got one thing correct. The definition of this "special position of the Malays" must be clarified and debated openly. The public must know conclusively if 'special' in this context means 'allowing the rich to plunder in the name of the poor' OR 'helping the poor gain equal opportunity and uplift themselves'.

It is plain to all that the 2007 UMNO version of the 'social contract' refers to the former, whereas the 1957 Alliance version refers to the latter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"The Reid Commission which prepared the framework for the Constitution stated in its report that Article 153, the backbone of the social contract, would be temporary only, and recommended that it be reviewed 15 years after independence. The Commission also said that the article and its provisions would only be necessary to avoid sudden unfair disadvantage to the Malays in competing with other members of Malaysian society, and that the privileges accorded the Malays by the article should be gradually reduced and eventually eliminated. Due to the May 13 Incident, after which a state of emergency was declared, however, 1972, the year that Article 153 was due to be reviewed, passed without incident."

Paragraph 11 -
Resources : Books from MALAYSIAN authors.