Thursday, 27 December 2007

The "Social Contract" - A Malaysian "Cold War"?

"A country that exists in a permanent state of war cannot exist as a democracy"
-Chris Hedges

There has been a lot of talk about the "social contract" that was formulated by the "Alliance" under Tun Razak, during the post 5.13 period.

Just what is this "social contract"?

To me, it appears that the deal was actually a "ceasefire of sorts", in an unofficial "war" declared by the "young turks" of UMNO, who had decided to revolt against the principles of democracy that the nation was built upon. This ceasefire, was a unilateral declaration, just as the "war" that they had declared upon the "pendatang", with their eye on the 'pot of of gold'.

It was possibly a conspiracy by an elite group of Malay leaders, who were hungry for power, and thirsting for wealth. Without a doubt - they too had legitimate grouses, just as Hindraf did when they conspired to revolt against nobody specific, refuses to condemn the leadership directly, but 'only the policies' - while setting the stage for the demise of the "old guard". The ball was set rolling, after the act of "giving independence" to Singapore, in order to weaken the "opposition" and Tunku's leadership.

The "social contract" was nothing but the "fair" distribution of the spoils of war, with the "co-conspirators", having to agree to "unwritten rules on a level playing field" , possibly while under threat. One thing is for sure - Penang grudgingly agreed to be "bought over", while some other parties did so with much gratitude, in return for being propped up by the 'conspirators'. The media then, only had to disseminate the propaganda of "cooperation" to pacify a nervous rakyat, in the aftermath of a traumatic event.

This had launched a kind of "cold war" that existed in the political circles, that depended on the "unspoken agreements", wherein each group has to take care of his own selfish interests, with or without the approval of "other parties". This had also facilitated the consolidation of power among certain groups who were until then regarded as the "underworld". There was a "war" on the (probably small-time, recalcitrant and dissenting) "triads" launched amidst much fanfare, during the aftermath of the events described. (Tun Hanif, UTK and DSP Kulasingam could probably tell us a lot of "grandfather stories" on these matters!).

A "deal" was also struck with the communist insurgents, who agreed to lay down arms - I really wonder what they got in return (other than possible economic rewards), when they were ready to kill for their beliefs just a while earlier .......

Tun Razak did his job well, when he planned and executed the development schemes which were to transform Malaysia. As a result of this "fair distribution of wealth", the initial few years had to do justice to the bloodletting of 5.13 - and it was indeed given a kind face for all to see. Dato' Hussein Onn simply carried on the policies of Tun Razak, giving due recognition to all the different branches of Government and rule of law, while Dato' Harun was "penalised". It was after the exit of DHO, that the economic policies of Tun Razak had matured, and ripened for the picking - and what a picking it was, done with total abandonment and disregard for the Law!

The Law was now an instrument to protect and enrich the elite, and not the people/ the dispossessed/ the minority. It was an instrument used to blindfold the majority, unleash tyranny upon the minority while "keeping" the elite. Any dissenting voice was considered an enemy of the state, declared to be subversive and a security threat, requiring "drastic measures" to be silenced.

All the rhetoric about the Chinese and Indian domination of the economy was nothing but hogwash of political rhetoric, as there wasn't much wealth to speak of in those days, anyway. This was only a psychological war that was unleashed in the Malay mind- a delusion, using an ideology of racism as its cornerstone, which remains to this day. The same rhetoric is played out time and again for the unthinking masses, who swallow the drivel dished out by the mainstream media and political stalwarts - lock, stock and barrel.

All this is done, while 'they' throw the peanuts that are eagerly lapped up (by those regarded as monkeys by the elite) as rewards, for their emotional outbursts in response to the "state propaganda", while the "pickings" went on. This had also created ill feeling among most of the "Nons" (and many Malays too) who were sidelined, suppressed and repressed as a result of the policies that were purportedly, "affirmative".

While this "picking" was going on, the masses were fed with more reasons to perpetuate this "psychological war" that was destroying the very fabric of the nation. To advance this siege mentality and deepen the "divide", so as to prolong the "picking", a new dimension/paradigm was added to fuel the war - Religion.

All of a sudden, there was a surge in the number of "Bumiputras" who were eligible for UMNO Baru membership, with Religion being used to perpetuate "certain policies" that undermined the rule of Law, as per the constitution. The Executive was now supreme- not the Federal Constitution and the Judiciary no longer independent. To serve the "masters", what we had now was two parallel legal systems, thus creating conflict, discord and division among the people.It had somehow transformed itself into the monster of a psychological war- of Muslims versus Kafir, to join the worldwide bandwagon of "Islamic Revivalism" (initiated by the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and Palestinian conflict).

What we have seen in this beautiful nation since its formation, is a series of events that perpetuates and fuels the feeling of animosity among various groups, who then have politicians to "kowtim" in order to portray an image of "unity and cooperation" for posterity. Meanwhile, the boil festers at the back of it all, creating the need for "repressive" laws to maintain the "peace, stability and harmony" of the volatile nation. This perpetual state of "psychological war", works to the benefit of the elite who can rule with ease in a divided society, vulnerable to "destabilizing factors" of sectarian politics.

The result of all this is a fractured society, which is vulnerable to the dictates of the "iconic rulers" who act with total impunity, on a people groping for leadership. In such a society, there can be no democracy - only a Fascist dictatorship, that has to rule with an iron fist and repression, as in many a third world nation (eg Pakistan and other "whatever-stans") which would otherwise have to be ruled by primitive tribal laws.

With the current state of affairs, Malaysia will soon be governed by dictatorial regimes or dynasty, playing to the feudal mindset perpetuated by "Ketuanan Melayu". With "Ketuanan Melayu", there can be no Democracy - only a dictatorship.

The Malays have to decide, if that is what they want for their future - the ball is on their court, and UMNO Baru's. If they feel the opposition cannot run the country, the UMNO Baru stalwarts/ 'young turks' should see the need for "separation of powers" for proper governance and progress of the nation. There has to be a balance of these powers, with a visible and viable opposition within the hierarchy, if not in the opposition or parliament, to promote free speech and debate of substance.

Malaysia is today a nation in a permanent state of "cold-war with itself" - and right now, democracy is dead.
It is up to the Malays to decide if they want to revive democracy and progress, or regress into a state like Pakistan or Saddam's Iraq.


  1. After 50 years, Malaysians should be educated that wealth can be created by freer minds and open economies. Just look at China, India and Korea. This social contract is just a shackal by the powers that be to divide and rule the oppressed tribes and nothing more.

  2. Doc. I agree the Malays have to decide. But the majority are in the heartland without internet connectivity. I have said it recently and will repeat: I was around when Mahatir "campaigned" for the ouster of Tengku and his team. The campaign took the form of "photo-copied" text that was distributed by hand because radio and television were not available to Mahatir and the young turks then.

    The majority of the malays in the heartland do not read what blogs have been spreading. There needs to be a concerted effort to reach them. Photo-copies it is again.

    Hindraf is doing that in small pockets to inform the people of their struggle.

    There is division in UMNO. Only an implosion within UMNO can knock some sense into them and get them out of the stupor.

    Thanks for the maiden visit. Good wishes for 2008.

  3. 1people1nation30/12/2007, 18:42

    The 'Malaysian People' are the 'Supreme Boss' of this land and not the dictatorial executive.

    The 'Malaysian People' will decide the fate of the dictatorial executive.

    Now the 'Malaysian People' will have to decide what shall we do to this dictatorial executive and act upon it:

    1) Just let it be and maintain the status quo.

    2) Vote the executive dictator out of Parliament and confiscate all the loots plundered.

    3) Boot the dictatorial executive and send him to jail for eternity.

    4) Arrest this bugger and does a 'saddam hussein' on him.

    The most number of votes registered from the voters on one of the four options will determine the fate of this Zzzzz- nincompoop dictatorial PM.

    The 'Malaysian People' are the undisputed 'Supreme Boss' of this Land, period.

  4. Interesting discourse, but I've a bone to pick.

    Whether or not the different racial groups in the former Federation of Malaya had a social contract, it does not carry over to the natives and non natives of Sabah and Sarawak with the formation of Malaysia in 1963. Malaya and Malaysia are not synonymous.

    We became citizens of the new nation by operation of law and not through the benevolence of any
    Malayan tribe. If the population in the then British Borneo had not been politically naive (natives) or indifferent (non natives), this nation would not have come into being. In fact the most hard done by are those who exchanged their British passports for Malaysian.

    Don't forget, 60% of Malaysian territory is here in Borneo. It is ridiculous to still be harping on a so called social contract which the people who brought along 60% of the territory are not party to.

  5. Though he may not have said it, the following is a very appropriate quote for us (especially the Malays & UMNOBaru-putras) to note-
    "Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
    And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.
    How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."

    Yes, Sabah & Sarawak were forced into this "deal" by the Brits who wanted their proxies to rule the trade routes of Straits of Malacca & South China Seas via the "planted freedom fighters" of Malaya.
    Out of nothing, UMNO miraculously emerged as the champion and "unifying factor for the Malays, for "defending their Sultans" against the Malayan Union "figment of imagination" - UMNO needed a platform, and the Brits gave it.
    That was how UMNO possibly emerged as the "rightful custodians" as opposed to the "recalcitrant" ones who were persecuted. The Brits could "do business" with UMNO, while the others had their own independent agendas.
    Having the administrative clout and "intelligence/ logistics" of the Brits to their advantage, they had possibly successfully hijacked the Malay struggle to be theirs, completely!
    This by no means goes to say that their rule wasn't legitimate.
    It is sad that UMNO, the Alliance and its ideals were short-lived, only to be hijacked by others who never believed in principles of Democracy.

  6. Zorro,
    Thanks - Happy New Year to you too!

  7. Hi Everybody
    Wasnt the social contract agreed upon pre-57.
    It was modified post-69 by both the Tun's. Nevertheless the original dox was 57, and it was a document where everybody agreed on the rules of conduct inorder to win independence from Britain. I dont want to give too much responsibility to Tun Razak, as he was a player, but not the main player for the original social contract.
    In Tun Ismail's book, i recall he & razak negotiated for a temporary ceasation of the original social contract with some pro-Malay clauses inserted. This was then twisted by UMNO Baru and basically by moral suasion they are trying to change facts. Kindly do not fall into the same boat.


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