Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Social Contract: 'Utusan got the context wrong'

The NST should extend its Read New Straits Times Adoption Programme to Utusan Malaysia because the Malay paper's reporters and editors seem to have a lousy command of English.

Yesterday, Gerakan president Dr Lim Keng Yaik accused Mingguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition of Utusan Malaysia, of misinterpreting his statement delivered in English two days ago. Read the full context in Screenshots.

Keng Yaik said he will meet Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today to give his side of the story on the social contract controversy sparked by a front-page article of Mingguan Malaysia, reports Bernama. (Read the Utusan Malaysia version here.)

On the other hand, Umno Youth Chief Hishammuddin Hussein, warned all factions against raising or questioning the issue of social contract between the races, which he said was agreed upon when Malaysia achieved its independence. "Don't bring up the issue again as it has been agreed upon, appreciated, understood and endorsed by the Constitution," he said in a Bernama story. (Also read the Utusan Malaysia version.)

Meanwhile, Richard Yeoh, Executive Director of Research for Social Advancement (REFSA) gives a historical perspective to the so-called 'social contract' and why politicians and their spin-doctors had to flog the dead horse repeatedly.

Richard's article may shed light on how much Khairy Jamaluddin, who accused Keng Yaik of speaking against the Federal Constitution, understands an important chapter of Malaysian history before he was born.

Mailbag From: Richard Yeoh To: Jeff Ooi Date: Aug 15, 2005 4:26 PM Subject: The Malaysian Social Contract

The debate on the Malaysian Social Contract is on again.

Less the debate goes on a tangent again, I submit that any rational debate should focus on the founding basis of the Malayan nation that came into being on 31st August 1957 (followed by the Malaysian nation in 1963) namely the "Social Contract" of 1957 that gave birth to the "Merdeka" Constitution of 1957.

I will not argue the case against the misinterpretation and distortion of the Social Contract for vested political and economic advantages on the part of the ruling elites as this was previously argued by Kim Quek in his article Unveiling the truth of Malay ‘Special Rights’ in an article dated Dec 04 2005.

If we wish to debate the principles of the Social Contract amongst the various communities that led to Independence of the new nation, we must refer to the Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1957 (commonly referred to as "The Reid Commission Report") as this Report was the result of the representations, discussions, compromises and agreements amongst the various communities and groups that form our nation.

As the Report is very comprehensive and exhaustive, I shall focus on the main areas of controversy and misinterpretation that dog us to this day, with the intention solely of contributing to informed discussion.

I believe that the Yang DiPertuan Agong should convene a special consultative council comprising all stakeholders in the Malaysian nation to examine the issues rationally and positively so that we may forge a national consensus which must of course be founded upon the principles of democracy and equal citizenship.

The emphasis in bold and clarifications in bold italics are mine.

Citizenship for non-Malays and the Special Position of the Malays:

This was one of the fundamental ‘bargains’. In return for citizenship for all, it was agreed that the Malays’ special position should be safeguarded.

On this the Report had this to say:

Para. 163. Our terms of reference require that provision should be made in the Constitution for the “safeguarding of the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of the other Communities”. In addition, we are asked to provide for a common nationality for the whole of the Federation and to ensure that the Constitution shall guarantee a democratic form of Government. In considering these requirements it seemed to us that a common nationality was the basis upon which a united Malayan nation was to be created and that under a democratic form of government it was inherent that all citizens of Malaya, irrespective of race, creed or culture, should enjoy certain fundamental rights including equality before the law. We found it difficult, therefore, to reconcile the terms of reference if the protection of the special position of the Malays signified the granting of special privileges, permanently, to one community only and not to the others.

The difficulty of giving one community a permanent advantage over the others was realised by the Alliance Party (the forerunner of Barisan Nasional), representative of which, led by the Chief Minister, (Tunku Abdul Rahman) submitted that – “in an independent Malaya all nationals should be accorded equal rights, privileges and opportunities and there must not be discrimination on grounds of race and creed...” The same view was expressed by their Highnesses (the Malay Rulers) in their memorandum, in which they said that they “look forward to a time not too remote when it will become possible to eliminate Communalism as a force in the political and economic life of the country”.

Para. 164. When we came to determine what is “the special position of the Malays” we found that as a result of the original treaties with the Malay States, reaffirmed from time to time, the special position of the Malays has always been recognized. This recognition was continued by the provisions of clause 19(I)(d) of the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1948, which made the (British) High Commissioner responsible for safeguarding the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of the other communities. We found that there are now four matters with regard to which the special position of the Malays is recognized and safeguarded.

  1. In most of the States there are extensive Malay reservations of land, and the system of reserving land for Malays has been in operation for many years. In every State the Ruler-in-Council has the power to permit a non-Malay to acquire a piece of land in a Malay reservation but the power is not used very freely. There have been some extensions of reservations in recent years but we do not know to what extent the proportion of reserved land has been increasing.
  2. There are now in operation quotas for admission to the public services. These quotas do not apply to all services, e.g., there is no quota for the police and, indeed, there is difficulty in getting a sufficient proportion of non-Malays to join the police. Until 1953 admission to the Malayan Civil Service was only open to British subjects of European descent and to Malays but since that date there has been provision for one-fifth of the entrants being selected from the other communities. In other services in which a quota exists the rule generally is that not more than one-quarter of new entrants should be non-Malays.
  3. There are also now in operation quotas in respect of the issuing of permits or licences for the operation of certain businesses. These are chiefly concerned with road haulage and passenger vehicles for hire. Some of these quotas are of recent introduction. The main reasons for them appear to be that in the past the Malays have lacked capital and have tended to remain on the land and not to take part in business, and that this is one method of encouraging Malays to take a larger part in business enterprises.
  4. In many classes of scholarships, bursaries and other forms of aid for educational purpose preference is given to Malays. The reason for this appears to be that in the past higher education of the Malays has tended to fall behind that of the Chinese, partly because the Chinese have been better able to pay for it and partly because it is more difficult to arrange higher education for Malays in the country than Chinese in the towns.

Para. 165. We found little opposition in any quarter to the continuance of the present system for a time, but there was great opposition in some quarters to any increase of the present preferences and to their being continued for any prolonged period. We are of opinion that in present circumstances it is necessary to continue these preferences. The Malays would be at a serious and unfair disadvantage compared with other communities if they were suddenly withdrawn. But, with the integration of the various communities into a common nationality which we trust will gradually come about, the need for these preferences will gradually disappear. Our recommendations are made on the footing that the Malays should be assured that the present position will continue for a substantial period, but that in due course the present preferences should be reduced and should ultimately cease so that there should be no discrimination between races or communities.

Para. 166. With regard to land, we recommend that, subject to two qualifications, there should be no further Malay reservations, but that each state should be left to reduce Malay reservations in that State at an appropriate time. Land is a State matter and we do not recommend giving overriding powers to the Federation in this matter. We do not think that it is possible to lay down in advance any time in when a change should be made because conditions vary greatly from State to State. The two qualifications to the rule that there be no further reservations are: first, that if any land at present reserved ceases to be reserved, an equivalent area may be reserved provided that it is not already occupied by a non-Malay; and, secondly, that if any undeveloped land is opened up, part of it may be reserved provided that an equivalent area is made available to non-Malays.

Para. 167. The effect of our recommendation is that with regard to other preferences to Malays no new quota or other preference could be created. These preferences can only be lawfully created or continued to the extent to which that is specifically authorized by the Constitution. With regard to the existing quotas which we have referred to above we recommend that the Malays ought to have a substantial period during which the continuance of the existing quotas is made obligatory, but that, if in any year there are not enough Malay applicants qualified to fill the their quota of vacancies, the number of appointments should not be reduced and other qualified applicants should be appointed in sufficient numbers to fill the vacancies. We recommend that after 15 years there should be a review of the whole matter and that the procedure should be that the appropriate Government should cause a report to be made and laid before the appropriate legislature; and that legislature should then determine either to retain or to reduce any quota or to discontinue it entirely.

State Religion:

On this the Report had this to say.

Para. 169. We have considered the question whether there should be any statement in the Constitution to the effect that Islam should be the State religion. There was universal agreement that if any provision were inserted it must be made clear that it would not in any way affect the civil rights of non-Muslims. In the memorandum submitted by the Alliance (forerunner of the Barisan Nasional) it was stated-“the religion of Malaysia (sic) shall be Islam. The observance of this principle shall not impose any disability on non-Muslim nationals professing and practicing their own religions and shall not imply that the State is not a secular State.” There is nothing in the draft Constitution to affect the continuance of the present position in the States with regard to the recognition of Islam or to prevent the recognition of Islam in the Federation by legislation or otherwise in any respect which does not prejudice the civil rights of individual non-Muslims. The majority of us think that it is best to leave the matter on this basis, looking to the fact that Counsel for the Rulers said to us –“It is Their Highness’ (the Malays Rulers’) considered view that it would not be desirable to insert some declaration such as has been suggested that the Muslim Faith or Islamic Faith be the established religion of the Federation. Their Highnesses are not in favour of such a declaration being inserted and that is a matter of specific instruction in which I myself have played very little part.” Mr. Justice Abdul Hamid is of the opinion that a declaration should be inserted in the Constitution as suggested by the Alliance and his views are set out in his note appended to this report.

(Note: The Alliance’s proposal was ultimately included in the Merdeka Constitution)

Delimitation of Constituencies:

On this the Report (inter alia) had this to say.

Para. 74. In delimiting constituencies within a State it would be in accord with general practice elsewhere and it is, in our opinion, necessary in the Federation that regard should be had not only to the number of voters in each constituency but also to the total population, the sparsity or density of population, the means of communication, and the distribution of different communities. We recommend that the Commission (i.e. the Election Commission) should be required to have regard to these factors, but, in order to prevent too great weight being given to any one of them, we recommend that the number of voters in any constituency should not be more than 15 percent. above or below the average for the State.

(Note: This limitation was in the Merdeka Constitution but subsequently amended, and then removed altogether by Parliament.


Richard Yeoh is Executive Director of REFSA, an independent non-profit advocacy organisation committed to inter-party, inter-racial and inter-faith dialogue towards the evolution of a great and united Malaysian nation.

Posted by jeffooi at August 16, 2005 07:21 AM | TrackBack

ah... quite a bit of history lesson here. i am pretty sure our uneducated education minister will receive some quality education here by giving this article a good read. but that may be too much of a challenge for someone who's so uneducated... sigh...

Posted by: ahjuju18 at August 16, 2005 08:35 AM

It is a history lesson that should be compulsory for all MALAYSIANS.

Why isn't the Constitution of this country taught in schools and universities?

Our founding father's vision for MALAYSIA for MALAYSIANS has been mutilated beyond recognition and for what?

Posted by: carpediem at August 16, 2005 08:52 AM

"Don't bring up the [Social Contract] issue again as it has been agreed upon, appreciated, understood and endorsed by the Constitution."

"I encourage all our students to challenge themselves by doing things they have not tried before, or that they are not already good at. Never be daunted by something you have not tried before. Be willing to try, to make mistakes, and to pick yourself up if you fall. That’s how we develop the strengths that last for life."

I pulled out a section of a randomly chosen speech delivered by the Singaporean Education Minister, just to make a comparison between the substance of the messages sent to the young generations in Malaysia and Singapore.

I see a bleak future for Malaysia. When the ultimate purpose of education is to enable one to reason and make an informed decision on any matter, our dear Education Minister is asking every one to shut up and not question things that do not appear right. Our Education Minister is not able to argue his case based on reasons and often falls back on ancient man-made decision (THE Constitution) as if it were an eternal truth when he needs a justification. He bears the honorable title of the Malaysian Education Minister, but he does not speak with an educated mind.

I see a robust future for Singapore. The Singaporean Education Minister's message is clear: Think the unthinkable, do the undoable! He reasons with the students the need to think out of the box, challenges them to do so, dares them to try and make mistakes, and encourages them to make attempts until they become successful. He understands that globalization does not wait for those who refuse to move on and challenge the relevance of the ancient man-made decisions. He does not tell anyone to shut up and accept whatever he says as the ultimate truth. He understands that part of the education process is to make one think and challenge old ideas and embrace new ideas if necessary.

I don't mean to be rude. But I guess it's a fair request to make. Our dear Education Minister, if you can't perform your duty as the Malaysian Education Minister to educate the Malaysians, at least please shut up and not send any wrong message to the people. By simply keeping your mouth shut, you are doing Malaysia a huge, huge favor. Thank you.

Posted by: ahjuju18 at August 16, 2005 09:29 AM

Of the Social Contract, Our Constitution and Malaysians

As the population matures and are (hopefully), less ignorant and substantially more educated, it is time to teach them about concepts like the social contract and other forms of abstraction such as equality, discrimination and unity.

Members of any society are bound by its own terms set forth in the footnotes of history - whether the contract is entered upon implicitly or otherwise. We give up some of our freedom to the State in exchange for promises of order, security and justice. However, this does not mean that the terms of the contract are binding, non-negotiable or static. In fact, our social contract has undergone a significant and fundamental change since 1969, a damage which most of us are still trying to repair. There is nothing fixed about our rights, and the same applies to the Constitution, which has been raped so often as the ruling coalition desires.

For many, the issue of choice does not arise in the acceptance or rejection of such a social contract. Some are simply unaware of its existence, and recognition of the social contract does not demand an explicit declaration of such. While some may argue that we are reaffirming to the basic tenets of the social contract by the many oaths we deliver vis-a-vis the Rukunegara (a post May 13 product), there is simply no concious acknowledgement involved. And whether you like it or not, there is no other options to the standing implicit agreements being perpetuated by the political elite and ignorant masses.

Of course, we can always be anarchists.

As we are now moving to the 50th year of our independence (merely two years away), we are looking at a very significant change in the public domain. Malaysians are beginning to voice out their disagreements to what this social contract should be and differing expectations have led to a careful articulation to re-examine what is supposedly the sacred cows (no offence to my Hindu friends) of this country.

At any point in the past, our social contract has always been a negotiated outcome of sorts, constantly being shaped by the previous, present and future generations to come. It would be wrong to say that the old social contract no longer holds water in totality. It still does. The issue is how much have changed (more likely distorted) and how far are we willing to address the changing terms as the context, rightly pointed out by Dr. LKY, is no longer the same?

Unless Malaysians learn how to work this out, it will always be a sore point for greater conflict, spoken or unspoken. We have come a long way to be treated like children when it comes to our own matters of collective express agreement. The elite bargaining process is slowly losing its hold, and while the prospects may look terrifying to some, what Malaysians should really look out for are opportunists who will take the chance to flame fire and pour oil into the new convenant until it burns itself out of the public sphere.

Consent to a social contract cannot be coerced and there has to be mutual agreement to reform, to remedy and to fulfil. We must work on this not as separate anatagonistic entities, whether communally or otherwise. Sure, we all have our own axes to grind, but a consensus is not possible unless we all work on it.

Some Malaysians do not understand this, and they harden their positions so that it makes it impossible to bring people who disagree with them to the table of negotiation. When unruly youths are kept out of the bargain, you will get dissent, whether they agree or disagree with the new social contract.

Because many Malaysians are operating in a vacuum of knowledge, most of them know naught of history, and they don't read to understand important documents of the past. We have few real Constitutional lawyers, and even fewer Malaysians who are aware of its significance.

Before we assume that the ruling elite are ignoramuses, it would be prudent to look in the other direction as to how susceptible our population can be manipulated into a frenzy of unreasonable proportions, for or against the convenant of old. Because you see, they have the press, and the story, my dear friends, will never hit the streets as it was meant to be.

Posted by: Chez1978 at August 16, 2005 09:31 AM

woi, how come i don't remember coming across those points picked up by Richard when i was studying sejarah all the way up to form 6? even that Negara Kita book, i don't remember reading those points. is history being swept away just like the new Japanese history text?

Posted by: Belacan at August 16, 2005 09:38 AM

CHEZ hits one out of the park again. Kudos my good man for looking beyond the rhetoric and seeing that we "common" folk are easily fooled. While we spend our time down here picking on each others' semantics, our lords at the top are perfecting their craft, honing their skill to keep us all blind.

Take off your blinders Msia and see the light.

Posted by: JAM at August 16, 2005 09:39 AM

Actually, I think Khairy was baiting Hishamuddin to make a strong, stupid statement, which he eventually did. He does understand the constitution and there are other things about Khairy to consider.

The statement by Khairy which appeared in Utusan was brief and a little ambiguous. As deputy head in Pemuda Umno, Khairy knows he needs to make some "ultra" statements from time to time, but he has steered clear from making long racist-like statements. He knows Hishamuddin sees him as a rising threat and will make all sorts of stupid tantrums to gain the trust of Pemuda Umno

Khairy, to give him credit, is not racist. You just have to look at the changes in Jalan Riong. Effectively, the three most powerful editorial positions are held by non-bumis - Kalli, Brendan and Rajan. Joan Lau heads the features desk and Lim Thow Boon is the executive news editor. Many other non-Malays are now heading units and desks in numbers undreamed of before. These were changes that came about with Khairy's assension to power.

Personally, he is more at ease with cosmopolitan Indians and Chinese than with the likes of Hishamuddin. He loathes kampung crudity. And the Singaporeans like him too, seeing in him the ideal candidate to do business with, without any parochial strings attached.

It is not true that Khairy is aiming for Hishamuddin's post. He is aiming higher, probably a cabinet position within two years, or perhaps after Rafidah is outed. The PM, with loud backing from Pemuda Umno can do this, and Hishamuddin knows that if Khairy does not get what he wants, then Hishamuddin will go.

Khairy is playing his cards well now.

I hope that allegations of foriegn allegiance against him and others, particularly those at Jalan Riong will prove to be wrong.

Otherwise, there is no one else with "otak" at Umno to create a new social contract for all Malaysians.

Just look at Jalan Riong and you can see the difference that Khairy can bring.

Again, I say this with caution. There are other questions as well. Was the recent move against Rafidah another shot at moving Khairy to the cabinet?

Posted by: TomK at August 16, 2005 09:39 AM


An appeal here.

Can somebody with hands-on skills on setting up a website in which all this information, reports, commentaries, including others, can be recorded and kept for references all Malaysians and future references. Information provided by people by Richard Yeoh must be kept and made available broadly, translated into Chinese, Bahasa and into Tamil.

It is like a virtual library or repository of information to help build Malaysia a united country, and to prevent idiotic leaders from misleading, misrepresentation and lying to Malaysians on certain facts.

People like Hishamuddin REFUSED to acknowledge the historical facts which HIS GRANDFATHER had laid down. A recessive mold of the great qualities of his grandfather.

The lying and misrepresentation and revisionist history by the UMNO Youth Chief and his deputy MUST be marginalised through alternative information sources. These sources must be established by us.

Posted by: Frank&Honest at August 16, 2005 09:41 AM

When the right to steal is firmly entrenched, there is no way that the beneficiary of that right will give it up.


Posted by: WilliamL at August 16, 2005 09:43 AM

I wonder, if Hishammudin forbade us of using our brains and pens to discussed things that matters to us as a nation in a constructive and objective manner, minding the sensitivity of all races and religious inclination. He, especially as an Education Minister, should have adhere to his own exacting standard. Wielding the blade instead of a pen is just so unruly.

Posted by: ray_ at August 16, 2005 09:45 AM


"....Umno Youth Chief Hishammuddin Hussein, warned all factions against raising or questioning the issue of social contract between the races..."

I wonder what he is he going to do if we keep on raising and questioning the issue of social contract between races? Pull out his keris??

We should call his bluff... and whatever he decides to get his apparatchiks to do his bidding, we have to say " Let it be!! "

Why should others be cowards to his threat ? The ball is in Pak Lah's court to rein him in with his aggressive intimidation of other races in the country.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH with the constant verbal threat!!

Now, where the bloody hell is MCA Youth, MIC Youth or MCA and MIC in all this to speak up? Shrinking and wetting in their pants?

Posted by: Frank&Honest at August 16, 2005 09:47 AM

If Malays fall for the seduction of Hishamuddin Hussein, the UMNO Youth leader, in his zest to be seen being a major force in protecting Malay special privileges, I hope all the privileges of education they have had will open their minds to see who the greater beneficiary is. It is certainly not the Malay masses. It is the UMNOputras and the UMNO leadership.

Strangely so far there does not seem to be any participation of Malays in this discussion in earlier postings. Its a wonder why. Also there does not seem to be any anger or hate against the Malays. The target of almost all writers is the UMNO leadership who most certainly have hijacked the social contract agenda for their own self preservation so that they can rob and plunder at their pleasure.

It would seem, when reading what Richard Yeoh has posted, the circumstances that prevailed at the time the Reid Report was published, continue to exist until today and is projected to continue into the future. The circumstances then may have justified the special privileges suggested by the Report and provided for by the constitution. However, listening to the current UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders, it would seem to me that they are shouting out loud and screaming how badly they have failed to improve the Malay condition from the time before independence until now. Hence the need for its continuance.

Indeed these are the questions for the Malay to ask. However they want to see their own ability to eke out a living for themselves and their families, surely the reliance on crutches into perpetuity as a handicapped, less than perfect creation of the almighty, must surely not be one of them. That would be like continuing to ask their creator why it is that their race is so cursed that only these protected privileges and crutches can see them through as a people!

More and more it is clear that the chant of the likes of Hishamuddin and Khairy are more for their own enrichment and benefit than it is for teh common good of the Malay race.

Posted by: Observer at August 16, 2005 09:47 AM


Well said. Could not agree with you more.

Posted by: Frank&Honest at August 16, 2005 09:51 AM


If your assessment of Khairy, the famous son in law is correct, I would reserve further judgment of the young man and give him the benefit of the doubt.

Assuming he is a work in progress.But there is still NO excuse for him to portray himself in public as a racist if he has noble intentions.

Posted by: Frank&Honest at August 16, 2005 09:56 AM

It's plain to all that the so-called Education Minister cannot hold a sensible and reasonable discourse on the subject without resorting to threats and accusations. He has elevated the Constitution, the Social Contract and the NEP to the stature of sacred truth, so now he wants to be the champion and defender of them. Grow up, man! You have no right to tell Malaysians to shut up.

Posted by: sorespot at August 16, 2005 09:59 AM

Firstly, correct me if I'm wrong but CONSTITUTION CAN BE CHANGED with the right amount of votes by our Parliament and with the right Leadership. Please don't fool the People to forgo their right to do so by THREAT or by concealing the fact that it's long due for revision of the so-called 'social contract'.

It's with the agreement and co-operation of all races that lead Malaysia to Independence last time. This is as much as my country as to you, the Bumiputras. Please don't forget that there're poorer Chinese and poorer Indians than you fellow Bumiputras.

If ANY revision needed for NEP, it's to focus the assistance to the NEEDY MALAYSIANS, not those who can afford so much and yet want more. Thanks


Posted by: deanng at August 16, 2005 10:04 AM

Agree with Frank and Honest. If Tomk's assessment of Khairy bears truth then we shall give him the benefit of the dooubt for the moment. However, this also means that Khairy does not think much of his own race to discern good from bad. It would seem like as if his kin folk only respond to the fleeting shouts and screams that amount to threats. Sounds like as if they have all come under the spell of the Cowboy movies of Hollywood of yesteryears...John Wane and the kind....Another term that might apply to describe his lot would be Yahoos!

Posted by: Observer at August 16, 2005 10:06 AM

You know guys, reading all the posts and comments from my fellow Malaysians makes my nerves extremely frazzled--injected with ambiguity and fear, I dare not imagine what the future holds for our country if the MCA and MIC does not step in .. like, RIGHT NOW!

Posted by: xmbb at August 16, 2005 10:13 AM

Please don't let this issue of 'social contract' dies off and re-ignited again and again everytime there's a UMNO/MCA/MIC/Gerakan party election. Let's keep the discussion on perpetual mode so that no politician could use it for their political mileage.

Dr. LKY bluntness on this issue is all about securing his place in Gerakan. If you, Dr. LKY have the 'balls', ACTION please!! We can see.

Posted by: deanng at August 16, 2005 10:17 AM

ahjuju18 hit the right note, comparing our so-called Education Minister with S'pore's. People must be allowed to think and question. How can a nation progress when its citizens are just mindless drones?

Posted by: megafirefly at August 16, 2005 10:20 AM

The social contract had a purpose, then. It is now obsoleted and archaic. The reason being the people perpetuating the idea have become perpetrators of selfishness and greed! The social contract did not fail the Malays, the Malay leaders have failed their community. The time has come, to review the role and leadership of the Malays as champions of the poorer Malay race. Take a look athe Malays in kampungs and villages they still retain most of the values of the the Tunku Abdul Rahma era, it the younger generation that is ... The non-Malays do not have a problem with helping the lesser fortunate, we have always done that.

Why is the wealth, in indecent proportions beings stagnated to the select and the few. If 1 Malay individual benefits more than RM500 million from this same social contract and just spread 40% (still modest) of that among his community, he would have done more to eradicate poverty and elevate the lives of his lesser fortunate brethren. It is then that the social contract would have been tempered with social and moral obligations. Share the spoils! Now the social contract is merely a "so sial" contract for the lesser fortunate Malays (and even the non-Malays) which this agenda was suppossed to help and protect.

Study the economic divide between the Malay society. Find out how much the haves have and the have nots don't. The other races also have havenots. Please think in terms of Malaysians. We are the only country that practices affirmative action for the majority. All over the world affirmative action programmes are for the minority race.

By all means, let us help the lesser fortunate MALAYSIAN brothers, but not at the expense of other lesser fortunate Malaysians. Robbing Peter to pay Paul, while those who have keep getting more!

Posted by: The3rdEye at August 16, 2005 10:56 AM


some clarification here.

Richard Yeoh wrote:
I will not argue the case against the misinterpretation and distortion of the Social Contract for vested political and economic advantages on the part of the ruling elites as this was previously argued by Kim Quek in his article Unveiling the truth of Malay ‘Special Rights’ in an article dated Dec 04 2005.

Dec 04 2005... I guess it should have been Dec 04 2004.

Posted by: ahjuju18 at August 16, 2005 11:00 AM

Read the Singapore Story by Lee Kuan Yew, it's a must read for those who wants to know more abt politics in Malaysia and Spore from a Singaporean's perspective.
On the other hand, I truly agree with most that the leaders of the non-Malay parties aren't doing "anything" to improve the situation. They were elected for a reason. They are too govt.-conforming and that's sad. As I always believed "being a little skeptical is always better than being a little credulous."

Posted by: fatherboard at August 16, 2005 11:02 AM

Frank&Honest's suggestion for a realtime capture must not be lost; it must be escalated, pursued and set into nationwide motion.

The strategy should be to concentrate focus by everyone on what is being unearthed as the biggest and longest running scam of the century perpetuated on an entire nation by a bunch of politicians whose agenda has been to make sure the actual spirit of the social contract gets mothballed behind a constant stream of blockages, denialisms, deflections and cordon sanitaires.

Umno ultras and cronies have hijacked and twisted the social compact and used it to shield generation-after- generation of the long-suffering rakyat from what they as constitutional hijackers are doing - create dissent in order to create a need for their presence which they can then monetize for their own benefit at the expense of everyone.

The tactics should be two-pronged. The first prong is to make sure all the educated and intelligentsia, regardless of race or location, get to know the real history and background of all that has been abused by way of governance over rights and funds. This calls for a GRIEF list. Webifiied, 24x7, anywhere, every well-wisher of this country can contribute their observations, experiences, information, data and analysis to this list.

For example, Maamor Osman of Penang should be asked why a pair of schools built in Penang by contractors of the local bumiputra cooperative cost the state millions. Khairy Jamaluddin should be hauled up to answer claims of his interventions in TNB. The Plus management should be asked in public to explain why a toll collector needs a RM100 million corporate headquarters. The fiasco behind Port Klang Authority's purchase at inflated price of land, the eco-village project, the raping of Bukit Cahya, the misuse of EPF money, the MAS share scam, the corruption from small to large in the land offices and town councils, the anguish of the 128 national scholars rejected for their scholarship applications and thousands of other misdeeds must go into this grief list which will be posted in that special website, searchable by all word, date and, even, if you will, by the scale of a Grief Index. The entries should be in all local languages, replete with photos, charts, diagrams - the works. This work will comprise the contributions of thousands of Malaysians borne on the wings of their own experiences and personal convictions, a last-man-standing statement to the little-hitlers of this country that here and now we have had enough of their malau tricks.

The second prong is to make sure that the rural folks, especially the rural Malay people on whose votes stand or fall the lifeline of these incorrigible politicianists of Umno, must be told the heart-breaking, eye-opening truth of what has really been the cost to both them, their fellow malaysians and the country. Costs beyond the road here, the RM50 per vote there, the kenduris, the free-p-ramlee shows, even the melaka sackful of datukships. Tell them the whole story in pictures; show them how a helicopter looks like when landing on a golf course, remind them why the photograph of the garage of an ex-minister has to be taken landscape- style (because too many cars can't fit all into the picture if portrait-style). Print thousands of copies; with each picture, ask a question; there cannot be any law against asking questions. This brochure of the worst of the GRIEF list needs to be passed house to house, kampung to kampung, city to countryside. Let each citizen hold it up when the aspiring assemblyman or politician rings the doorbell or asks to see the villager. Do this everyday for one month before voting day.

Reverberate the message across the land that the rakyat are completely fed-up with malau tricks.

The GRIEF list, people.


Posted by: Neil at August 16, 2005 11:16 AM

ahjuju18 hit the right nerve...kudos! we talk abt world class education, world class unis, world class everything.....but we still have shallow minds running important ministeries. just think....globalization and social contract -- what a mismatch!

Posted by: sk at August 16, 2005 11:34 AM

I like your descriptionof the biggest and longest scam.
That is why the NEP actually stands for Never Ending Policy.

I guess once those UMNO Youth get into position, they only see the gold and other goodies on the table of Malaysia's wealth and it becomes a game of "give me more".

Those guys are not satisfied with being fed fish, they demand caviar.
Regarding the simple kampong folk, their graduate children and those who have more info should influence the folks back home.

In a way, the Net is going to be important for people to get discussions going so that more sordid details can be discussed.

Posted by: hjangus at August 16, 2005 12:00 PM

Aiya ahjuju18,
Don't waste time lecturing the clown Hishamuddin la. I don't think he understand what you have said. They are there just because of their connections only. I have very capable Bumi lawyer friends who are way bove in capability and intelligence than HIsham. But they are nobody.
Also it is useless comparing Hisham with Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Education, Singapore. It is like comparing a stone and a diamond. Mr. Tharman speaks facts with dinity and in civil manner in front of an assembly. But our clown, Hisham shouts nonsense at top of his voice brandishing a keris!!!
Qualification wise - kindly refer to the profile of the respective ministers and it will speak volume. So long Malaysia!!!

Posted by: mewah at August 16, 2005 12:08 PM

"Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they."
by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762)


Posted by: mahisasura at August 16, 2005 12:14 PM

The Star reports today that Ong Ka Ting will deliver the MCA's position on the NEP to the Barisan leadership. What a joke. OKT is regarded as a small boy by the UMNO leadership, and that's exactly what he is - whisper, whisper, keep it low key - and people like Hishamuddin and KJ treat OKT as a nobody.

Mahathir did a masterstroke when he nudged out Ling Liong Sik and installed OKT at the top of the MCA. A guy who can't talk his way out of trouble even if his life depended on it - and the Chinese now have him as a spokesman ?

To my Malaysian Indian friends - Semi Value will always be Semi value to the plight of the Indians.

Posted by: WilliamL at August 16, 2005 12:15 PM

To be honest... Malaysia sounds like its going to be like Indonesia in 10 years time.. 5% of the population holding 90% of the economy. Suharto anyone?

Posted by: nUtZ` at August 16, 2005 12:21 PM


i already acknowledged the clown's uneducated-ness in my very first comment lar... didn't expect him to understand at all. just hope that someone who's in his right mind and has the political power to understand how our neighbor is nurturing her young people. our leaders often regard singapore as Malaysia's competitor, if not enemy. one should understand oneself and his opponent thoroughly if he intends to stay invincible for 100 fights. that's one good reason why the other more enlightened umno politicians should study the winning strategy of singapore.

Posted by: ahjuju18 at August 16, 2005 12:31 PM


o yea... we must walk the talk. most of us have short memory and need reminders. we must archive all the shit the current garment is doing to us. may i suggest that we keep a record of the good that some have done for malaysia as well? just so that we know which alternative political parties deserve our votes and trust in the next election.

Posted by: ahjuju18 at August 16, 2005 12:42 PM

How can that OKT negotiate with those keris-welding clowns? He can speak proper English or Malay. Maybe those clowns have to speak in Mandarin because I understand from CNN that orang putih in USA are taking up mandarin very seriously!!!
Coming to more serious thing. I hope OKT can drive a hard bargain with them. Otherwise 'liao lo'.
Oh yes, What happen to Pak Samy? He must be there too!!! Maybe this loud mouth is ore articulate and pandai bodek can get some thing done

Posted by: mewah at August 16, 2005 12:56 PM

Re hjangus, NEP should be Never Enough Pillage/Plunder.

There is a real danger in pursuing this issue before the majority in this country is "matured" enough to understand the background of this "social contract". As had been pointed out by dean_ng, Constitution can be changed; but may not be for the better under current political climate. Who is to say BN cannot now amend the Constitution to give full effect to the special rights by simply substituting the word "position" with "rights".

What about history? History is written by victors. The histroy my fellow Malaysians and I learnt in High School does not reflect the version given by Yeoh and Quek; in due course, the victors' version will (has) prevail(ed).

In any case, history cannot operate as law, only the Constitution can.

Proceed with extreme caution. It is not time yet to rattle the cage and endanger the final piece of protection offered by the Constitution.

Posted by: bumihamba at August 16, 2005 01:05 PM

Some years ago, the book "May 13" caught my attention when I did my shopping in Kinokuniya. It is a book that I read with great interest as it touches on everything that concerns us today such as the Malay Privilege and the "Social Contract" mentioned in Richard's article. It was an eye opener to me that I felt it should be introduced to our so-called leaders.

After the recent controversies about NEP and social contract, I realize how ignorant and arrogant these "leaders" are. Hishammudin was called to the Bar at the prestigious Lincoln's Inn in London, while Khairy was a graduate from Oxford. I would expect these well educated "towering" figures in UMNO Youth to understand the Malaysian history really well, and to proactively figure out an effective solution to solve the racial issues that have been plaguing our society for decades. Alas, they merely know how to use their hearts than brains when responding to the public issues! What else can we ask for?

Malaysia does not need well-educated leaders who only know how to solve a problem with their emotions. We need people with BRAIN!!!

Posted by: antiracist at August 16, 2005 01:09 PM

You guys are day dreaming...I have never seen in my whole F...G life a Malay Political Leader becomes famous and powerful and climb the UMNO leadership by just having the non-maly supporting him. SO, is the Chinese/Indian Political Leader with support from other race. You need the support of your own to go up in Politics.

If some of you say Khairy is not racist, let say he support what LKY said, do you think he will still be there?

In short, you have to be a RACISCT in politics if you want to survive (Malaysian scenario).

So, is GERAKAN/MIC/MCA/DAP and other's. Once a while you have to stir up the issue to get support. If Politician do not say RACIST stuff, do you think TM, AAB, Samy, LKY, LLS, KIT SIANG and other to come can last that long. Some of them almost 3 decades. So, there is no point talking about it....NOTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE UNLESS WE CHANGE. AND I DOUBT THAT WE CAN CHANGE.

Posted by: Airsnort at August 16, 2005 03:06 PM

Airsnort, were you just trying to be "fair" by throwing in Lim Kit Siang's name when you accused other politicians of capitalising on racists sentiments? Perhaps Airsnort can put his money where his "mouth" is by giving examples of LKY or LKS "saying racist stuff". You also say nothing will change so no point talking about anything. Then why are you on this thread?

Posted by: kimmy at August 16, 2005 03:24 PM


The biggest problem with the MCA (and by extension OKT) is that there is no one there with a proper grasp of monetary issues. Only Fong Chan Onn has a grasp of economics, but even he is meek to openly address the fundamental issue that the Malays want - MONEY.

The new generation of UMNO leaders, amongst them Hishamuddin, Nazri and KJ, have one simple method of negotiation - go on the offensive and scare the sh!t out of the opposition. People like these are shallow and it takes cool calm characters to deal with them. OKT is lost when it comes to debating issues such as NEP, proportional representation, economic theft, public institution write-offs, etc, etc.

Posted by: WilliamL at August 16, 2005 03:41 PM


You wrote:
It is not time yet to rattle the cage and endanger the final piece of protection offered by the Constitution.

What protection??? The Constitution had been trampled, distorted, rubbished by UMNO over the last 30-odd years, short of being flushed down by UMNO Youth into "you know where".

You sound like a typical MCA apparatchik.

Posted by: Frank&Honest at August 16, 2005 04:38 PM

Just wondering why MCA and MIC not put some of their party resources into the study and research the history before and after 1957. Especially on the federal constitution on mention about malay priviledge and....

Posted by: Ken at August 16, 2005 08:21 PM


You wrote:
"...Just wondering why MCA and MIC not put some of their party resources into the study and research the history before and after 1957..."

They are too busy using their position in MCA amdMIC making money or positioning themselves, relatives and friends to enrich themselves.

Don't be fooled that MCA and MIC leadership cared a damn about their respective communities or their members.

If they had, the Chinese and Indian communities won't be in this mess or political madness with UMNO and UMNO Youth.

Ong Ka Ting can't even string a comprehensible sentence in English or Bahasa.

Samy Vellu is more interested in his looks and refine his ampun-bodek into a art form.

Posted by: Frank&Honest at August 16, 2005 09:47 PM

To Frank&Honest and Observer:

To be frank, looking back at certain changes that has happened at NST, one should view anything about Khairy with skepticism. It could be that he playing around smartly over the constitution and race issues. I think this Khairy factor is murky and one only needs to LOOK at NST to see where he is heading.

It seems, he was personally responsible for handpicking and sidelining some journalists. Rehman Rashid was a victim, and it seems Karim Ruslan, we were quietly told, played a role in sidelining some of the potentially good writers at NST. It is true that more non-Bumis are writing top stories for NST than ever before, but why not Rehman, even if he is not exactly likable at the Subs Desk? Or Zainul Arrifin, who writes pretty well?

I still remember that Khairy was mentioned as forefunner for the GEIC post when Ahmad Talib’s time was up. We all thought that it was possible, at least among the middle-ranking management.

There are other puzzling things that happened at that time. A venomous diasgreement between Rose and Hardev.

Another puzzling thing was the VSS ouster of one very promising young guy whose articles are published in foreign publications. I met him just before he left, and he told me that “Kalli refused to meet him, and it was no great loss anyway.” He was only happy to leave and thinks the local dissident and free speech sites sucks as well. At NST, he is dismissed in many ways but I think he is laying low for now. Very intelligent and can be vindictive I sensed. and I remember being asked by foreigners whether I knew him. Others have been asked as well. He is back in KL and after a search, this is what I came up: -


The quality is very good but why didn’t Kalli actually meet him since he wanted the best, as he frequently told the editorial long time back? And what about Rehman and Zainul?

If Kalli wanted professional writers, he could just allow Rehman to write, even on non-political topics. It wouldn’t be difficult for Rehman. But there are other good non-bumi writers still here at NST and they are sidelined. In fact, they are angry.

So, when comes to the constitution, Khairy, his cronies, the race factor, it is less clear cut than before Kalli took over. NST is an indicator.

The biggest puzzle is Karim Ruslan’s role, if ANY, in all this.

Again, if you want to know where Umno politics is heading, look at NST.

Posted by: TomK at August 16, 2005 10:50 PM


Thanks for your very good insight into NST. I have kept that in my computer memory bank.

I have made known my views about Kallimullah some months back on Jeff blog. He writes well,I give him that credit. He is building his own personal empire in NST.

But I have given up on his credentials as a professional journalist. No where near with his current performance in NST. He would have made a good independent columnist,if he has a mind of his own.

I don't read NST on domestic issues or domestic politics. You can conclude safely that NST is a Public Relations and Press Release Tabloid for the ruling political parties, especially for UMNO, and Kalli is just a mouthpiece.

YOu may notice that those reporters who are there at the so-called Press conference (what a misnomer!!) are behaving like STENOGRAPHERS, note takers instead as Reporters. NST should have just wait for a printed version of what the Ministers or PM got to say and published them instead of sending these pseudo-journalists on to these staged press conferences.

Those press conference sessions with the NST pseudo-journalists/reporters and Star reporters are nothing more than photo-opportunities for the UMNO/MCA/MIC Ministers.

Sometimes I wonder whether those questions asked by the NST and Star reporters at the press conference were prepared questions from the Ministers themselves so they can respond and look good.

And the half-smart Malaysians are being fed with UMNO political propaganda by Kalli and his cronies in NST.

If you follow only NST and Star to make an intelligent decision or opinion on domestic political issues, you may end up less intelligent and more parochial minded.

NST is only (repeat, only good) for the Sports Pages.

Posted by: Frank&Honest at August 16, 2005 11:09 PM

To Frank&Honest,

You make some very balanced remarks in this blog, to your credit.

But I must clarify that Kalli is rumoured not to write his own articles. Many say, it's his wife, others say it is Karim Ruslan (more of an old rumour). He speaks very well, unlike Kadir or DKL, but Kadir was known to write his own stories, and ask someone else to touch it up. Fair enough, as everyone make grammar mistakes.

DKL used Rehman.

And here is again the puzzle on Rehman. I remember the guy Matthew Maavak - not his real name - told me he wanted to meet Kalli over writing trvel and feature topics, as he didnt like "political crap" but couldn't even get the message through or see Kalli personally. Why? Maybe you could write to him and get his story on what really happened.

It really is a puzzle if you look at the talent at NST that can write on non-political topics and still are sidelined. Rehman and Co are a case in point.

About the stenogrphers thing, you are right on the spot. They are specially picked not to ask tough questions. The Star almost the same case. There is joint campign by the Star and NST to kill off the Sun,
from what I gather, and no surprise as Kalli and Wong are truly brothers.

JEFF OOI says: Joint campign by the Star and NST to kill off the Sun? This gives away the level you desk is placed! Do more homework my friend.

Posted by: TomK at August 16, 2005 11:35 PM

Can we just propagate this simple formula:

3% of China > 30% of Malaysia

Turn this into a slogan. Explain the meaning to those that are oblivious of it. Pass this slogan to every blog; spam your friends if need be.

Malaysians need to wake up!

Posted by: Jason at August 17, 2005 01:04 AM

If the government is doing something that is unconstitutional, can't they be sued or challenged in court?

Posted by: rakyatrakyat at August 17, 2005 08:32 PM

Actually, the news of NST’s pact with Star in pushing out the Sun was heard some time back. And you can’t keep a secret at NST for long. Advertising department resorting to all sorts of tricks.

Posted by: TomK at August 17, 2005 11:23 PM

After read all these so called views and comments, I don't really know whether mine will be better to be written in english or bahasa. shouting and begging desperately for your rights, none of you notice that all of you are not Malaysian enough to be called Malaysian.

Lets me begin with...

Pertama, apa sebenarnya tujuan forum ini diadakan? Untuk menyemarakkan semangat perkauman atau sengaja mahu mengeruhkan suasana yang sudahpun semakin tegang?

Rata-rata kolumnis, nampaknya buta idea dan pekak sejarah sehingga menggembar-gemburkan isu-isu yang tidak wujud.

Lihat balik pada sejarah, jika mahu terus memberi idea. Pernah dengar prinsip jus soli? Tahu apa yang terkandung dan termeterai didalam perjanjian antara penjajah British dan pemimpin-pemimpin negara terdahulu? Tahu atau tidak? Kalau tidak jangan buat-buat tahu pulak.

Kenapa mahu membandingkan pemimpin negara luar dengan negara kita. Terbaikkah mereka sehingga begitu disanjung? berjayakah mereka sehingga begitu dipuji?

Mungkin ada yang tidak sedar rata-rata penduduk Singapura telah menjadi penduduk kelas kedua yang merempat dinegara sendiri. Berfikiran terbuka konon? Tapi untuk apa? untuk memusnahkan dan menjaja jati diri rakyat sendiri. Mungkin kolumnis yang memberi pendapat tidak sedar apa yang sebenar berlaku. Banyak-banyakkanlah membaca ok.

Buat observer, penyataan anda ... "that would be like continuing to ask their creator why it is that their race is so cursed that..." jelas sekali bersifat perkauman dan menghina agama orang lain. Tanpa nilai sensitiviti dan rasa hormat, layakkah anda merasa diri anda cukup bagus untuk menilai kelemahan orang lain?

Buat Jason, apa maksud anda 3% China > 30% of Malaysia? Adakah anda bermaksud bangsa cina diMalaysia tidak perlu takut untuk bertindak kerana bilangan sebenar bangsa anda sebenarnya begitu ramai. Mereka di China mungkin boleh membantu. Membantu atau meniru?
Mungkin Jason terlupa untuk memberi peratusan bagi kaum India. Lihat! kenyataan anda sendiri jelas anda juga dari suku sakat yang suka memonopoli.

Kenapa sebagai rakyat, tidak pernah sedikitpun anda semua tahu berterima kasih atau bersyukur. Sudah dasar berkiblatkan duit, kerana itu diri anda tidak pernah terpalit hatta seincipun semangat dan budaya kemasyarakatan dan cinta serta hormatkan negara.

Anda rasa anda sudah cukup yakin untuk menguruskan isu ini? lihat ini...

1) Negara mana yang memberikan keterbukaan yang amat luas didalam isu agama? Singapura? Ah pergi jahanam! Bagaimana dengan isu pemakaian tudung yang pernah digembar-gemburkan suatu ketika dulu? Mereka berjaya? Ah untuk negara yang sekangkang kera mungkin tiada yang mustahil. Mereka terbuka? Lihatlah bila AIDS sudah tersebar seperti penyakit demam selesema ha nanti baru anda tahu.

2) Negara mana yang tidak kisah anda mahu berbahasa apapun? Atau anda mahu seperti negara jiran yang mana satu bangsa, satu budaya, satu bahasa diamalkan? Masa itulah Si Ah keong(sekadar rekaan) tak ubah seperti Si Wak Tonto (sekadar rekaan) bolah dilihat dimana-mana.

3)Mahukah anda isu ini dibangkitkan... jika 'Japanese' untuk 'Japan', 'Mexican' untuk Mexico, 'Indonesian' untuk Indonesia maka sepatutnya yang wujud ialah Malay-sian atau juga Malayese yang sudah pastinya untuk Malaysia. Jadi apa pula jadinya dengan 'Chinese' dan 'Indian', perlukah mereka-mereka ini pulang kembali ke negara asal nenek moyang mereka? Fikirkan...

'Malaysian'kah anda untuk bergelar Malaysian?
-Masih ramai yang kekok berbahasa Malaysia. Lihat sahaja forum ini. Untuk apa diselenggarakan dalam bahasa Inggeris. Untuk biarkan negara lain menempelak dan mencaci? Lihat! 'Malaysian'kah anda? Tiada semangat nasionalisma dan patriotisma, 'Malaysian'kah anda?. Atau anda-anda semua ini tidak tahu mengeja dan membaca dalam Bahasa Malaysia. Huh, Malaysian konon...

Pada saya, anda semua ini manusia yang lupa diri dan tidak tahu mengenang budi. Kalaulah mesin masa itu benar-benar wujud, mahu sahaja saya kembali ke zaman dulu dan seru pemimpin melayu terdahulu supaya tidak bermati-matian mempertahankan negara. Biar sahaja Pak 'Hait-Arrigato' itu musnahkan anak bini mereka. Biarkan mereka.... biarkan....

Akhir sekali, saya minta maaf jika ada yang terguris, bukan maksud saya mahu bersifat perkauman.
Tapi menjelang kemerdekaan ini, kenapa mesti kita terus menghentam sesama sendiri jika perpaduan itu sepatutnya menjadi tunjang utama kepada keamanan dan kesejahteraan negara.

To those who are not understand Malay Language, what more can be said, - huh Malaysian?

Posted by: Malay-sian at August 24, 2005 04:39 PM
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