Khairy told to explain social contract
SHAH ALAM: Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin must first explain what his understanding of the “social contract” is before he suggests revisiting and rewriting it.
Veteran politician Datuk Zaid Ibrahim told theantdaily that a discussion on the subject is a waste of time, otherwise.
“You need to ask Khairy if he stands by the Umno interpretation and if not, what his understanding of it is.
“Unless we are in agreement on what we are referring to when we speak of the social contract, then the discussion on the subject is a waste of time,” said Zaid.
He was commenting on Khairy’s suggestion that a new social contract be drawn up “to do a hard reboot” of the country.
“To me, the only important element in the social contract is the privileges given to the Malays under Article 153 [of the Federal Constitution] in exchange for the granting of citizenship rights to the non-Malays under the Reid recommendations. [The Reid Commission prepared the framework for the constitution of the country.]
“It was intended that the special privileges were meant to be temporary and not a permanent feature. Umno has rejected this interpretation.
“To Umno, Article 153 conferred special rights on the Malays. The difference is not semantic but substantive,” said the former minister.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution grants the Yang di-Pertuan Agong responsibility for safeguarding the rights and privileges of the Malays and other indigenous people of Malaysia.
The article specifies how the federal government can protect the interests of these groups by establishing quotas for public scholarships, public education and entry into areas such as the civil service.
After the racial riots of 1969, the social contract was renegotiated, bringing about the New Economic Policy (NEP).
Zaid also questioned whether Khairy was merely referring to the Merdeka social contract when he made this call.
“Sabah and Sarawak have their own version of the social contract. They joined Malaya to form Malaysia on the basis of the 20-Point Agreement.
“They envisioned the state governments have more power than what Umno has given them, a true federation unlike now where Putrajaya controls absolutely. Does Khairy want to revisit these issues or was he simply referring to the Merdeka social contract?” asked Zaid.