The Dandelions

.. the mutual admiration and bashing society.

Social Contract, Oh, Social Contract.

Posted by Cherubim on October 23, 2008

I do not require an unnecessary class on social contract. My syllibus is comprehensive enough.

One thing that I fail to understand is the repetativeness of certain persons of harping about the social contract being inviolate.

If I remember my Sejarah correctly, a social contract is an agreement between the person who rules and the citizens or subjects being ruled. Such an agreement would contain the surrending of certain rights by the citizens to the ruler(s) in exchange for order and security. It is the foundation of the society’s behaviour, conduct and rules. Far from being inviolate, it is well understood that as the society changes, the social contract evolves to accomodate the different eras that come by.

Do we not remember the story of the Sultan who slit open a pregnant woman’s stomach alive in order to retrieve the royal nangka that she ate as she craved it due to her pregnancy? For his cruelty, he is deemed to have lost his mandate to rule, and the woman’s husband slew the Sultan. Sultan Mangkat Dijulang. The point of the story is that the citizens have rights as human beings, while the rulers have a responsibiliy not to abuse the power entrusted to them.

These days we call our social contract the Federal Constitution. It is the only supposedly supreme law of the land which has been amended 46 times, surpassing even the amendments in the 250-year-old American Constitution, by way of 2/3 majority in the majority. The only persons allowed to amend it are the members of parliament, who are elected on a four-year-term basis by way of vote. BN has always enforced a type of block voting system where the MPs of the party, irrespective of how they thought about it, has no choice but to agree to any bill proposed by the party.

So what is the fuss about our social contract? All that I’m aware of is that at the time of its inception Malaya was squeezed in between the colonial British, the guerilla communists, and a miffed Indonesia who wants Malaya as part of its’ nation. At the time, KPMM came up with a social contract which is more acceptable to them compared to the one proposed by the Malayan Union and staged a successful hartal. In the end, UMNO took the social contract suggested by KPMM, edited it a bit to safeguard Malay rights, and grudgingly in the name of self-determination it was accepted as binding.

The non-Malay leaders realizes then that any protestations to the alternative social contract would affect fragile trust between the races then. So they accepted. However, fast forward 50 years now, is it still relevant? They ask us to not question the social contract, saying that it is a sensitive issue, and inviolate. To them I snort. Any form of codified law is meant to reflect the reality of the society. Just as the autocratic feudal society required a different sort of agreement between the Sultan and his subjects, it is just as prudent to consider that we now live in a democratic society of which freedom of expression (thank you Pak Lah) is a required check and balance for the betterment of society, of which different sorts of rules apply.

You cannot apply old agreements on new situations. Just as you don’t utilize the Malay Customary Law in regards to land matters anymore and refer to the National Land Code now, is it not prudent to revise a more permanant and feasible social contract so that it is in line with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights? Just my thoughts, anyways. I say let’s call another independant Commission to do a proper clean sweep of the unfinished ad hoc mess that we have as a social contract right now.

Let’s redraw the lines.

IPTA disaran wujud kokurikulum jelas kontrak sosial

Oct 21, 08 3:46pm

Universiti-universiti disaran supaya mewujudkan satu kokurikulum baru bagi memperjelaskan isu berhubung kontrak sosial yang sering menjadi perhatian pelbagai pihak sejak kebelakangan ini.

Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin berkata penjelasan kepada generasi muda khususnya pelajar universiti adalah penting bagi mengelak kekeliruan di kalangan mereka.

“Yang penting bukan mempersoalkan kontrak sosial tapi penjelasan supaya mereka faham apa itu kontrak sosial khususnya di kalangan generasi muda, kerana bukan semua faham mengenai kontrak sosial ini.

“Oleh itu penjelasan dengan kaedah yang sesuai dan mengaitkannya dengan sejarah negara adalah penting,” Naib Presiden Umno itu kepada pemberita selepas menyampaikan ceramah bertajuk ‘Politik Melayu-Islam Kemelut dan Penyelesaian’ di Dewan Budaya Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) di Pulau Pinang hari ini.

Ceramah anjuran Pusat Kajian Pengurusan Pembangunan Islam (ISDEV) dan Yayasan Nurul Yaqeen itu dihadiri oleh para pelajar dan tenaga pengajar USM, demikian menurut laporan Bernama.

Selain itu katanya para pensyarah di universiti perlu memainkan peranan penting dalam memberikan penjelasan berkaitan dengan kontrak sosial.

“Penjelasan yang berkesan penting kerana apabila pelajar  ini keluar dan bercampur dengan masyarakat, mereka akan mudah memahami konsep demokrasi dan perlembagaan Malaysia,” katanya.

Muhyiddin berkata isu kontrak sosial sebenarnya sudah lama selesai dan ia harus diterima oleh semua pihak.

5 Responses to “Social Contract, Oh, Social Contract.”

  1. esther said

    Refer: No social contract among races says Ungku Aziz http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/5/12/nation/21222850&sec=nation
    & http://yennamike.blogspot.com/2008/05/academics-debate-social-contract.html

  2. barbie said

    I disagree that the Federal Constitution = Social Contract. Ungku Aziz put it correctly as ‘a fantasy created by politicians of all sorts of colours depending on their interest’.

    I don’t want to post on this issue in public (although we talked about it that day) because if you are aware, Sedition Act makes it illegal for us to discuss such issue. Talking about Social Contract often includes mentioning of Artikel 153 – special position of the Malay and other indigenous peoples of Malaysia (Bumiputra).

    Let me quote from wikipedia (okay fine it’s biased but I share the same idea so it suits my argument.)

    The Constitution does not explicitly refer to a “social contract” (in terms of citizenship rights and privileges), and no act of law or document has ever fully set out the social contract’s terms. Its defenders often refer to the Constitution as setting out the social contract, and the Malaysian founding fathers having agreed to it, although no reference to a “social contract” appears in the Constitution.

    This quid pro quo trade-off – citizenship for ‘immigrants’ and ‘special positions’ for Malays and indigenious people of Malaysia is not something that will an ‘baggage’ for the future generations of the ‘immigrants’. It is insulting for 2nd and 3rd generations of the ‘immigrants’ to be often reminded of their debt. How are they going to live a true Malaysian?

    ps: Special positions, not rights. For Bumiputras, not only Malays. The way UMNO always put it, the special position is exclusively Malays.

  3. Abracadabra said

    social contract? the bigots twist it for their own selfish use. without social contract they will just find other means of manipulation. did anyone read the the star’s interview on Hamid Albar, that botak?

  4. essey said

    go back to school and learn history. Like i used to learn in my primary and secondary.

  5. bongkersz said

    Essey,

    If you are referring to our history textbooks, I am afraid there is not much to learn, my friend.

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