Saturday, 12 July 2008

Discuss The Constitution - Stop the "Social Contract" Rhetoric then, Tun!

"The embodiment of the social contract is therefore the Constitution of first, the Federation of Malaya and then Malaysia.
Saying that the social contract does not exist is like saying that Malaysia exists in a vacuum, without a Constitution and laws based on this Constitution."
- Dr. Mahathir,


I just went through TDM's take on the "Social Contract".
It was quite a relief to note that we concur to the fact that The Federal Constitution is The Social Contract, and vice versa - I guess that should put to rest many an argument!
He even speaks of "the spirit" in which the constitution was formulated - as I had written in The Notion & the "Social Contract". !!
Good job of playing with words, I must say!

Let me to recap what I wrote earlier:-
" ..... that the Constitution is under attack by those who demand that the "social contract" be "renegotiated" is, I believe, inaccurate and misleading.
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.

Being "imperfect"(as Shad Faruqi says it is), The Constitution has IMHO, one Major flaw/defect - in its "definition" the Malay - that it has ridiculously tied a "race" to an idea/faith/Islam.

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.

Good job Tun - but the spirit you speak off, is as bad & twisted as your intention in highlighting the Melaka Governor as a member of the Chinese National Army,
and requirement of "Nons" in "professional capacity" but avoid discussing that

"The Agong or the Rulers of the States should determine quotas of scholarships and licences for Malays. But no one should be deprived of whatever permits or licences in order to give to Bumiputras."

or that
- "Before these the Malay States were feudal with the Malay Rulers enjoying near absolute power. Only the elites played a role in State politics. The Malay subjects had no political rights at all."

Anyway, since it is late in the day, I'll get back to this some other time.

The "social contract" - A Dead-end Roadmap to Piracy

There were two articles of late in Malaysia Today which said a lot about the political realities prevalent today.
The articles were The Roadmap to Nationhood by Ahmad Mustapha and Farish Noor's A Dead End for Malaysian Politics?
The titles of two articles complement each other very well - so much so, the two could have been combined nicely under the title "A Dead-End Roadmap For Malaysian Politics & Nationhood".

What we see today is the result of the myopic methods and ideas prevalent since 1969.
The ghost of the "race riots" of May 13 still haunt the nation to no end, despite the recent March 8 "rebellion". These "ghost" will keep eating out the fabric of the nation, until & unless, the authorities reopen debate on matters and allow forum for the healing to take place without political interference - that can pave the way for nationhood.
One other much recycled & infamous ghost is - "The Social Contract", as defined by the Barisan Nasional "creed" (as Mahathir would call it), wherein to question is "rebellion/ sedition"..
(After the intro, I still await Mahathir's take on The Social Contract- as he had promised after Shad Faruqi media release promoting his book about the Constitution)

Sorely lacking in the Malaysian political environment, is the lively and civil debate of progressive ideas among the political parties.
At present, they all go down the same slippery road of "R & R" - race & religion.
Politicians and the people on all sides of the spectrum don't seem to see anything beyond the horizons of these two "issues" which have been the tools by which the electorate has been enslaved. Amidst all these smokescreens at play, we also have a political leadership that is intellectually and ideologically bankrupt, but adept at gymnastics of rhetoric and fear-mongering.

Taking demographics into consideration, it is the Malays who will determine the fate of the "nation", Ketuanan Melayu" and Bung-heads or not - and that is a foregone conclusion.
Any Malay leadership is doomed to collapse under it own weight of mediocrity, should the Malays fall for fear-mongering tactics used by certain parties, and subscribe to the "idol-worship" that is prevalent. And the pirates will keep on preaching their message of hatred, "perceived insecurities" and rights to more mega-handouts, so as to suck the nation dry. It is the mindset of the victims of "siege propaganda", which has "worked wonders" thus far.

When can we see the people take to leaders who speak of progressive ideas of nationhood? As RPK says, probably not in our lifetime.
Never mind the "race quotas" and "bumiputra privileges" preached by the federal govt (depite all the piracy)- they reached there with such an agenda.
Take the new movements that have come up lately (the numerous 'NGO's) - they all speak of "racial rights & quotas".
Hindraf comes up with their question of Perak councillors lately .... what difference does it make if the man at the helm is an Alaskan, if he can deliver to the community? And PAS wants only 5-time praying Muslims for the civil service and Islamic this and that? Aren't they asking all the wrong questions? Don't they know that the wrong questions beget all the wrong answers and threaten the feeble alliance in PR?
Don't they realize that they are playing the dangerous "Alliance social contract game"?
Man- I'm so sick of all the racism and religious bigotry on both sides of the fence!

One thing for sure - until an unless, there is a Malay leadership that can practice some form of honest meritocracy, accountability and social consciousness (devoid of chauvinism & bigotry), we are definitely at a dead-end. The "social contract" culture of cheating and manipulation has to go. It is their only possible salvation - and that of Malaysia!
They should have no reason to fear a political agenda that promises affirmative action based on economic status- if they are indeed the underprivileged. Other communities can only play a supporting role to the Malay polity.

The Malays don't have much of a choice -they must to rise to the occasion and stop subscribing to sectarianism, religious bigotry, the seige mentality, and discard the "BN social contract", so as to compete on a truly level playing field. It is in this arena that they can prove their metal - not in waving or kissing the kris, body-snatching, British math-whiz "escorts", Mongolian deaths, rempits or even the infamous Carburettor Dung (just couldn't resist it - had to include them! LOL!).

Or else, today's children of Malaysia are doomed to the gutters of the future- with a wawasan of piracy, mediocrity and despotism on a dead-end roadmap - and true Nationhood is but a pipedream.

Note: Dr Mahathir has already posted his "Social Contract" story at