Friday, March 27, 2009

Social Contract and Myths

During the United Malay National Organisation's assembly, there is one phrase that always echoes the moronic state of minds those who keep talking about Malay rights and ketuanan Melayu.

Social Contract.

I know little about social contract and its history, esp on when the contract was signed and when the contract was imposed. Is there such social contract document being archived somewhere?

Our current generations are being repeatedly reminded about social contract as it is the most sacred document, like never question the Malay rights and Malay rulers. Why can't we? We can question to know about the way this social contract was determined to understand its concept or spirit blah blah.

A lot of us, question about the poor implementation of the policies or action by ruling parties' which formed the government of the day. The United Malay National Organisation politicians have hijacked these affirmative actions to enrich themselves and families, when we question about their misdeeds, the best defence they have is, do not question the social contract....like they are as sacred as the sacred cows.

This whole article below can be read at THE SOCIAL CONTRACT – correcting the misconceptions

The Social Contract is not Cast in Stone

As pointed out above, Locke argues that the social contract is a living document and its terms may be renegotiated as and when the needs arise. Rawl on the other hand posits that we, as human beings, are reasonable only to the extent that we are able to achieve an end together within a set of specific regulatory principles. Thus, by no means a social contract is an unmovable object. As society evolves, generations and consequently values and cultures change, internal and external dynamics would redefine the society’s priorities and needs. It follows that the social contract would change and vary in order to achieve newer objectives and ends.

Thus in India, we would now see the practice of suttee, where a surviving widow would be burned alongside her husband’s body, being outlawed. Slavery in the United States and other parts of the world become a practice which is frowned upon. Gay marriages are now permitted, even in Singapore. Such is the power of time and progress.

The Federal Constitution for example, had never contained provisions for the New Economic Policy or a new education policy. In the aftermath of May 13th 1969 however, the NEP was introduced out of societal necessities as well as, probably, political necessity. Thus a new social contract was born. What about the new education policy, where the English took a back seat, as opposed to the pre-Merdeka policy where a certain degree of emphasis was given to the English language? Wasn’t that a change to the social contract?

The Federal Constitution is, to my mind, the social contract between the people of Malaysia and the State or Government. But it has been amended countless time to suit the needs of the society (although one could present a really substantive argument that it was amended for political expediency on countless occasions). The Judiciary for example, in whom was imbued judicial power in the original Federal Constitution (and thus the original social contract), was later deprived of judicial powers save and except provided for by the Parliament through yet another amendment of the Federal Constitution. Wasn’t that a change to our social contract?

Hishamuddin talked about the actions of some parties who dare to belittle our Royal institution. With respect, that is almost hypocrisy. Under the original social contract, the Malay Rulers cannot be sued in any Court. No legal action may be brought against any of the Rulers. Mahathir Mohammad’s regime amended the Federal Constitution to allow the Rulers to be sued in a special Court. Many of us would have read the recent suit by a bank against one of the Malay Rulers. Wasn’t that a change to our social contract? How about the necessity for Royal assent to a bill of law before that bill could legally become law? Originally that was the position. But again, the Federal Constitution was amended to do away with such requirement. Wasn’t that yet another change to the social contract?

Hishamuddin and his ilk should realise that nobody is questioning the rights of the Malays and the status of Islam as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. What is being questioned is the implementation of the Government’s affirmative policy. There are obvious differences between the two. In any event, the social contract, as proven above, has been varied and changed on countless occasions, by none other than the BN Government itself. Of course, the BN Government would argue that those changes were necessary for the betterment of the society as a whole.

Why then, when anybody other than the BN leaders stand up to raise a question on the social contract, or when he or she would even dare to suggest a discussion on, let alone a change to the social contract, he or she would be deemed arrogant, or in Hishamuddin’s own words, “sombong, angkuh dan bongkak”?

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