Monday, May 12, 2008

Social contract - a vigorously implemented 'fantasy'

'Social contract' - only in Malaysia does this term connote various meanings.

To the UMNOputras and supporters, it’s their mantra of the inviolability of ketuanan Melayu, their passport to power, position and personal prosperity via Malay ‘special rights’, something struck in steel plate and inerasable.

To the other Malays, it is something, whatever it is, over which you got to watch those sneaky Chinese, who would undoubtedly try to undermine and do away with it, which may explain why they haven’t got any yet, whatever it is – trust those greedy ungrateful Chinese.

To the non-Malays, it’s the typical UMNO self-serving bullsh*t that constantly reminds them (the nons) of their second class citizen status, and that they are (2nd class) citizens of Malaysia only by the permission and tolerance of the Malays, and only if they (the nons), as quid pro quo for their citizenship, behave and not, never ever, question Malay ‘special rights’.

The Crown Regent of Kelantan reminded us of that, and in one fell swoop separating his future subjects into the master race and ‘nons’ – for more, read Kelantan Crown Prince 'slapped' non-Malays in face!

But now Malaysiakini has just reported something we all knew but couldn’t get it out without being threatened with keris, tebuans and the threat of another May 13.

I am going to keep it simple without going into history, the Reid Commission, the Constitution, its Article 153, NEP, NDP etc etc etc.

Malaysiakini told us that Royal Professor Dr Ungku Abdul Aziz just made a statement that there was no such thing as a social contract between Malaysia's diverse ethnic communities, putting paid (at least intellectually) to the ketuanan Melayu propaganda, a insidious Apartheid-like racist discriminatory policy of political, economic, social, cultural and religious dominance.

Dr Ungku Aziz said that the social contract was "a fantasy created by politicians of all sorts of colours depending on their interest." Well, it has been, for some, a profitable fantasy, and for others, a frustrating one - but it's a fantasy that has been vigorously and fiercely implemented and realised.

He believes whatever contract there was, it was more of an ‘economic contract’, what most countries would call 'affirmative action', in areas of education and health for groups that needed it the most.

But alas, the non-UMNO Malays and the 'non' groups like the very marginalised Indian Malaysians have yet to benefit from it.

Dr M disagreed with the Royal Professor but conceded that there wasn’t anything written down in black and white. He averred that the so-called social contract was an 'understanding' among founders of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Alliance or Perikatan government.

The problem for UMNO with the universally recognised term of 'affirmative action' is that, by the very nature of that term (affirmative action), only those who 'need the help' would be entitled to it, whereas the murky terms and structure of a loose and broadly defined ‘social contract’ means greater opportunities for exploitation in the name of being from one ethnic group.

Take for example, the 7% discount for bumiputera (meaning Malays). Why should a rich Malay, perhaps a CEO of a bank or an UMNO big time contractor or a highly paid pathologist, get an automatic 7% discount when buying a house while struggling Samy, a postman, and mechanic Mak, not only have to pay the full amount but in reality would also be subsidizing the 7% for the Malay towkay. Now, that's adding injury to insult!

No one is against the rural poor of Malaysia, mainly Malays and other indigenous natives, from benefitting through affirmative action, but the institutionalized trough has become so politicized that only members of a political party and their supporters get to drink heartily from it.

Shambhala is an ideal mythological state that lives only in our imagination, but it would be nice to know how close we would be to that ideal state. As I wrote in How far are we from Shambhala?, how many more years will it take us to drop those kulit-fication?

I dare not think of the answer.


  1. the country is more important than UMNO or BN.

    One should realise that first

  2. Shamhala is shambles. Nasi sudah jadi bubur. Itu keris pun bukan melayu punya. Jadi tinggal apa?

  3. Rasa sayang eh rasa sayang sayang eh

    Rasa sayang pun Indonesia punye..........

    Kapal sudah karam, itu lah hasil kerajaan BN tukar sejarah tanahair

  4. Mahathir is lying!!! Another pseudo history, just like his early book, The Malay Dilemma. There was not any “understanding” between Tunku and the Perikatan non Malay leaders. UMNO had been imbibing the blood of the people, the poor Malays, non Malays and numerous natives from federation of Malaysia with the myth. The thesis of “citizenship in exchange of special rights” is the biggest scam in Malaysian history.

    When the British conditioned that all major races in Malaya to consent the new Constitution, one of the point of contention among non Malay leaders was the vague Article 153. The Tunku was under tremendous pressure because the non Malay leaders did not agree to the Article and on the other side the leftist and Malay fundamentalist pressured the new Constitution to accept main AMCJA-PUTERA propositions. Finally the Tunku pleaded to Perikatan non-Malay leaders to retain the Article to pacify the Malays extremist and proceed with Independence process and assured that once independence is achieved, they can all sort out together the terms and duration for “special position of the Malays”. The evidence is available in meeting minutes in Public Record Office, London (but for some reason not in National Archives).

  5. It was an emotional blackmail by the Tunku and the non Malay leaders succumb to it in good faith. Later, the Tunku promised to revise within ten years (the same time accorded to replace English to Malay as official language) and the Reid Commission specified 15 years max). It was Tunku’s assurance that paved way for independence to materialize and the non Malay leaders supported the idea that Malays need state assistance, thus the specification of reservation in “public service, scholarships, exhibitions , permit or licences (for the operation of any trade or business). This has nothing to do with citizenship, as Mahathir claimed. The citizenship was mandatory to all qualified non Malays in Malaya.

    It was after the coup by Tun Razak and the return of Malay fundamentalist in early 1970s that this pseudo history germinated. Dasar Ekonomi Baru, Dasar Pelajaran Kebangsaan , Dasar Kebudayaan Kebangsaan, Dasar Bahasa Kebangsaan are all drafted with the fundamentals of the pseudo history. This is the time the myth begins.

  6. UMNOputras always mention Special rights whereas actually is Special Position. Also they forget that other races have their rights to their mother tongue and religion. Further what about those from Sabah and Sarawak? UMNOputras think that their type has more rights that those bumi from East Malaysia. If that is the case, it is time to review their position. Afterall, West Malaysia swallow more from their resources.

  7. Just read the two books written by the Malay extremist at this period, The Malay Dilemma by Mahathir (the rascal who incited hatred against the Tunku) and Revolusi Mental by Senu Abdul Rahman collection of articles by Malay extremist).

    This fundamentalist and racist views were criticised by the late Prof Syed Hussien Alatas. He even predicted the NEP will only lead to corruption and benefit a small groups of Malays. this came to past after 30 years.

    So, enough of Mahathir giving us lesson in history.

  8. Bravo Prof Ungku Aziz for telling us now that the emperor did not wear any clothes! It is 50 years too late, but better late than never. So now we know that the so-called social contract was nothing but a big scam to cheat the non-Malays of their basic human right. All those UMNO leaders responsible and their MCA/MIC quislings will eventually have to pay the blood debt to half of the country's population who have been conned of their rights. Had it been a non-Malay saying there was no social contract, he would instantly have been jailed for sedition. 1984 in Malaysia is far from over despite the severe setbacks suffered by the BN in the last GE

  9. Mahathir is no historian, folks, from what he has been trying of recent events, his mind has shown to be very faulty (remember the Lingam's Tapes Inquiry). How can we trust him with events that occured years along. He will be giving us a rendition from his own imagination!!!!

    Stay away from him !

  10. sorry, should read as "...he has been telling of ..."

  11. While it should be applauded that Prof Ungku Aziz came forward to deny the "social contract", it is too soon to make him the hero. He has reserved his comments for a different quorum.

    He is the one who is responsible to initiate 'Malay only' economic program since 1970s. In the debates of early 1970s, Ungku Aziz has fiercely maintained the Malay economic agenda at the expense of other poor groups.

    Recognising his contribution, he was made a professor than royal professor though he never completed his PhD and never had significant academic publications.

  12. I'm quite concious from my historical readings and talking to surviving old folks from the Independence era that there WAS a Quid-Pro-Quo between the Malay and Chinese leadership at the time.

    For those Chinese born in Malaya , citizenship was a non-issue. But not so the large number who emigrated from China.

    Independent Malaya needed the Chinese community, the economy would have ground to a halt without them, and on top of that, involuntary repatriation would have been cruel, especially after the communist takeover in China.

    Balanced against that was the real worry among the Malays that they would lose both economic and political rights in the country. The population of Malaya at the time was almost 50-50 between Malays and non-Malays, and that is a very delicate balance. At the time the Malays had almost no presence in the business and professional sectors.

    If you look at the history of other nations, giving citizenship other than jus soli (place of birth)or lex soli (by operation of law) is a big deal. Even nations promoting migration, as the US once was, and Australia and Canada today, have quite lengthy and involved processes to confer citizenship.

    So the special position (and I emphasise - not special rights) of the Malays WAS a trade-off for citizenship of non-native born Chinese and Indians.

    It is a very old trade-off and the situation today is vastly different. The Malays now have a major share in the economy. There are now plenty of very affluent Malays. The non-Malays are a shrinking proportion of the population. Almost the entire non-Malay population are native-born citizens.

    After 50 years , isn't it time to throw the crutch away and everyone learn to walk on their own ?

  13. Give them the ketuanan

    I see ketuanan as a wheelchair

    only those handicapped person need a wheel chair!

    give it to the weaker race

  14. You missed out the discriminatory practice by Pizza Hut.

    My school going children found out that Pzza Hut's bills excluded tax and service charges when their Malay classmates paid it. The bill were coded 'o'. However, when a non Malay classmate paid the bill, it was coded 'c' or 'i' or other codes, and a tax and service charge was applied. What kind of racism is this?!!

    I do not know if this practice is continuing, but all you readers can check. I do not know the owner of Pizza Hut. If anyone knows, they may be interested in demonstrating in front of these outlets, if the discriminatory policy is still being applied.

    Any instance of MM's 'social contract'?!!

  15. old timer, you're kidding right? did you read this from an email somewhere because it had already been exposed as an email forwarding hoax on haris ibrahim's site (

    as apparent, TunM is still pretty old school in his politics. doggedly hanging on to the anti-colonial spirit, and now pitting the malays against others by constantly telling them they are weak when they're not. some third world country hero he is.

    but i guess we'd be relieved in a sense, with no disrespect, that such old school politics should be wiped out with the passing of that particular generation.

  16. If social contract is a myth, how are we going to reconstruct and damage control the flawed logic? Is this not the time, for Barisan Rakyat Malay leaders to come together and condemn the UMNO hegemony of 40 years old and help to nurture the nascent Bangsa Malaysia? Where are our civil society leaders? And why the lead blogers silent at this defining moment?

    We first have to condemn the state agencies that promote and breeds racism. The first will be the Biro Tatanegara (BTN), under PM's department whose only job is to incite hatred towards non Malays and opposition party Malays. (read Azly Rahman blog for more). Time to remove this deadly virus (BTN) who is parasiting the Malaysian nation under the payroll of government. Second, ethnic studies syllabus prepared from school to university are based on the assumption of �social contract� that was originally developed from BTN modules should be revised. Thirdly, the entire higher learning institutions that are producing research on ethnic relations and ethnicity should move away from �social contract� paradigm to valid sociological/anthropological paradigm. All ethnic studies institutes/school that are established in Malaysia are all infested with the deadly virus at foundational level. Good example is the ethnic studies module prepared by head of ethnic studies, UKM.

    When this paradigm shift takes place, all the problem of polarization among ethnic groups in schools or higher learning institutions will fade away. This will be the genuine first step towards creating a better Malaysia.

  17. good points, ap! and i hope those so-called mighty bloggers for justice will also take up ap's recommendations ..... unless it's 'inconvenient' for them? maybe they're thinking of 'man man lai' ;-), like in 50 or 500 years from now

  18. Reply to Msleepyhead,

    As my posting stated, the practice was directly confirmed by my school going children together with their Malay classmates. What more direct evidence is needed?