“The Constitution is under attack by a number of people who believe that we should move towards the Islamic state.
It is under attack by those who feel that the ‘social contract’ must be renegotiated.
Frankly, it is also undermined by judges and civil servants who apply their own interpretations of the Constitution and allow their personal allegiances to colour the practical application of the laws that govern our country.”
- Shad Saleem Faruqi
Immigrants made Malaysia what it once was - "dynamic" (not anymore, though).
Save the "Orang Asli/Pribumi", everyone one of us are in actual fact, descendants of immigrants (if not immigrants themselves).
The "Chinese", "Indian", "Pakistani" and even the "Malay" (maybe to a lesser extent?) is an immigrant (more so, since 'Project M').
With the onset of "the new world order" of nation-states and Merdeka, in order to preserve, maintain and work on the riches of the nation - a political understanding among the various ethnic communities became a necessity.
It gave rise to The Federal Constitution, and also the much trumpeted "social contract between equals" in a political alliance.
The Federal Constitution is a "Social Contract".
The Constitution in its entirety is the only social contract that we have and we know - and its interpretation is subject to the spirit in which it was formulated.
Royal Prof Emeritus Ungku Aziz, implied that "the Social Contract" (as was trumpeted at certain political rallies and in the media, but strangely forbidden to be discussed) is nothing but a figment of imagination and a political spin, created for political expediency - It apparently Doesn't Exist!
However, Ungku Aziz wasn't talking about The Federal Constitution - it was the BN political rhetoric that he referred to.
The much trumpeted "Social Contract", is simply the agreement of the relevant parties towards establishing the Alliance. Unlike the Federal Constitution, it isn't something that's sacred, for the citizens of Malaysia to unquestioningly "abide by it" - but of course some would choose to deny that, lest the 5.13 Bogeyman awakens to haunt the nation once again.
To imply that the political rhetoric of "the social contract" is The Federal Constitution, is nothing short of "a sin"!
To demand that we adhere to the Federal Constitution in its non-negotiable "spirit" and entirety, isn't an attack!
To discuss the Constitution and create awareness of it through healthy debate instead of a streetfight, is not to question it.
On the contrary - to understand it is to defend it from the perversion that it has been subject to. It's a necessity, so that Malaysia survives the onslaught of these Pirates of the Constitution. What is challenged, is simply the twisted definitions and 600 amendments that the Constitution has been subject to for 50yrs (more so in the last 20), which Shad deplores - nothing more.
Therefore, paranoia expressed by certain politicians who claim that - to discuss it, is to "challenge the social contract"- is totally unfounded and a cheap "fear mongering" trick. "Fear of destabilization" as a result of "inflamed passions" would not arise, unless these very politicians create the circumstances for it.
It is therefore, they who are responsible for the ignorance and potentially "inflamed passions" of the rakyat - not those who discuss the Constitution or the social contract.
From the right & left, these attacks just come from different leagues of "Pirates of the Constitution", and both preach "supremacy" of some sort (not so different from a fascists/ racists).
They who have redefined it based on the notion of Ketuanan Melayu or the "Syariah State", ignore the spirit in which it was formulated, at their own peril - and at the risk of destroying the nation along with it.
There is an argument that states that "the social contract is in the constitution". That argument cites convenient articles while ignoring the spirit of the constitution in its entirety. (Nor can Article 3 be used as an excuse to declare Malaysia an Islamic State, as Mahathir did for other reasons).
That argument is erroneous becos the social contract isn't in the constitution, but -"the Federal Constitution in its entirety, is THE social contract".
In citing the Constitution, one does not get to pick and choose elements from it, for political expediency - To do so, would be, to subject the Constitution to attack.
It was probably these attacks that Prof Shad refers to - should that be the case, I'm in total agreement. Or else, I'm inclined to believe (despite his credentials) that he was "a little confused" in his press statement, or a spin doctor did a good job on him.
It is what happens when the nation is held at ransom by pirates, who use Democracy to subvert the very instrument they use to legitimize their power - the Constitution. The Constitution, which is our date with destiny is indeed, under attack.
Imagine this - to dissent would mean to be "constitutionally de-Malay-ise" yourself - or render one an "unconstitutional Malay"!!!
It was probably in the interest of enforcing/ manipulating "Malayness" politically, and preventing the freedom of thought - I wouldn't know (..... but it's fine by me). If it is demeaning (in that, it restricts freedom of thought), is however something for the "legally Malay of Nusantara" to consider.
As to how the 'constitutional experts' could have formulated such an ill-conceived "definition" of a race, is beyond my comprehension.
This "Constitutional definition of a Malay" has been so exclusively used, manipulated, and stressed on by many a "Ketuanan Melayu" politician, to create a siege mentality among the masses.
And it was only to evoke paranoia and distrust - so as to subvert the Spirit of Equality, Liberty, Fraternity and Solidarity that has been enshrined in The Constitution.
Wawasan 2020 was however launched, to blind a people, in a state struggling for nationhood, through the common identity of a "Bangsa Malaysia". At the very same time though, this idea was however subverted , (with the notion of 'KetuananMelayu' and the ever present "Chinese/Indian bogeyman"), and hence twisted the "social contract" of the Constitution into something it isn't.
To say that one "race or religion" is superior to the other (as per the prevalent political rhetoric), is to subvert the spirit in which the constitution was formulated.
To say that Malay rights would be "threatened" by the discussion & knowledge of Constitution is totally malicious.
What matters to politicians though, is power and control over the riches that belong to the masses, and that the masses are "made to know" that only they can "defend the rights of the people"!
The 65% of the nation's wealth that was in the hands of the British at Merdeka, was gradually squandered away upon acquisition by proponents of the NEP/ Ketuanan Melayu - leaving apparently 19% (at par value, actually) "Bumiputra" stake in the economy.
Such is the business acumen of the NEP-ists. Yes - the rempits, the pakcik/makciks and the usahawan bumiputra can still thump their chests and proudly say that the leaders are "protecting their interests".
It's all in the name of 'nation building', though - so it is fine.
Let's face facts - There is no way that the "Non-Malay" as a race, can dominate politically, given the demographics of Malaysia.
Hypothetically speaking- given this reality, should a PM of a minority community come to power as a "true-blue Malaysian", it would be political suicide for him to deny affirmative action for any "race" in particular.
[Why would he do that, when "Apartheid/Race/ Religious Politics" may be quite unconstitutional anyway?]
Until and unless, a True Malaysian (not a Malay, Chinese, Indian or Alaskan) helms the nation, "nationhood" is but a pipe-dream.
Until then, an Immigrant State with "Notionhood" is all we have
- that's Wawasan 2020 for you.
"Transculturalism is not a total objective reality, there has to be a conscious subjective component which must express itself in the public space, in a democratic fashion without political interference...... "
- Donald Cuccioletta, Multiculturalism or Transculturalism: Towards a