KANGAR, 5 March 2009: The Raja of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Putra Jamalullail, said the Malay Rulers’ dignity needed to be protected at a time when issues that touched on the Rulers’ power and the social contract were being raised.
He said the Rulers had a role of protecting all Malaysian citizens regardless of race, religion and political affiliation, and this role should be preserved.
Opening a special seminar on the Federal Constitution organised by the state government here today, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said of late there were groups questioning the social contract which had actually contributed to the country achieving independence in 1957.
He said the social contract which aimed at ensuring racial harmony was not in a document, but it definitely existed.
“I believe that if we can appreciate and understand it (the social contract), those with vested interest and their narrow agenda, by playing up sensitive issues, will fail to achieve their aim.”
Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said the country’s independence was the result of prevailing racial harmony, with Islam as the official religion and the Malay Rulers having the duty of preserving racial understanding, which was referred to as the social contract.
“The commitment to establish an independent nation came from the close cooperation of the Malay rulers with the community and political leaders who received the people’s mandate.
“The different races, on the other hand, must build understanding and respect each other’s rights as part of the social contract,” the Perlis Raja added before about 500 senior state government officials and heads of departments and agencies.
However, he lamented that of late, various quarters with vested interest had given their own interpretation of the social contract from a narrow perspective to serve their own agenda.
He said their action had caused uneasiness among the public.
“The social contract is explicitly and implicitly interpreted in the Federal Constitution.
“It does not just contain the supreme law of the country, but the constitution also manifests the hopes and aspirations of the people which are for the nation to fulfil,” Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin said.
He also said that “all the races are the masters of this country and they are free to practise any religion without hurting the other religions.”
Former Appeals Court judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah gave a closed-door talk at the seminar, which was organised with the cooperation of the National Civics Bureau. — Bernama