“Apa yang saya perkatakan ini tidak menghairankan. Di abad ke-20 kita telah dipampangkan dengan kes-kes hukuman tanpa perbicaraan di Amerika Syarikat, tragedi ‘holocaust’ di Benua Eropah, penyembelihan rakyat Palestine di Asia Barat serta penghapusan etnik di Bosnia dan Rwanda.
“Jadi, bayangkanlah, apakah kesudahannya, jika setiap generasi rakyat Malaysia mengambil pendirian untuk mempersoal kewajaran kontrak sosial kebangsaan yang telah dimuafakatkan pendahulu mereka sebelum ini.”
Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak in his opening speech at the 2010 Umno general assembly. Najib said Malay Malaysians had made the ultimate sacrifice to achieve independence in allowing other races to share what was then known as Malaya.
He said open debate on the special position of Malay Malaysians and the social contract could lead to unease and incite primordial instincts amongst the races. Citing examples of the Jewish holocaust and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Rwanda, Najib said history had shown that such instincts, if not tempered, could result in violence. (Source: Umno president’s speech at the 2010 Umno general assembly, Office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, 21 Oct 2010)
“The (education) ministry will improve the history syllabus content by focusing on aspects related to the country’s constitution, to improve understanding on the formation of Malaysia.”
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in his closing speech at the Umno general assembly, announcing that it would be compulsory for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) students to pass their history paper from 2013 onwards. He said that this decision was in response to Umno delegates’ complaints that the younger generation had poor knowledge of the nation’s history. (Source: Muhyiddin: Compulsory to pass SPM history paper from 2013, theSun, 23 Oct 2010)
“…from the mid-1980s, the idea that there had been an implicit ‘social contract’ was fashioned. It was suggested that the notion of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ had, by inference, been part of or implied by that contract.
“In this way, born only in the 1980s, the new idea of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ was ‘read back’, or subsequently ‘smuggled’, into the Merdeka agreements and process…If there was an implicit contract at that time…then universal assent to ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ was and must have been part of it.
“This, quite simply and evidently, is historically erroneous. It is sheer revisionism. It is retrospective meddling with national historical truth and the nation’s constitutional foundations.”
Clive Kessler, emeritus professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. Kessler stressed that the notion of Malay supremacy was not part of the Merdeka process and agreements. At the very least, there was an “implicit” contract, and definitely not an agreement on paper or cast in stone. And to his historical understanding, this implicit contract was about inter-ethnic power-sharing and the secular nature of Malaysia.
In another article published in Malaysiakini written in response to Najib’s recent comments at the Umno AGM, Kessler said that any suggestion that Malay [Malaysian] political domination in perpetuity was part of the nation’s foundational agreement “is simply wrong”. He also notes that different parties have “enlarged or ‘inflated’” parts of the Merdeka agreements that fitted their politics. (Source: What social contract? — Clive Kessler, The Malaysian Insider, 6 Sept 2010)
“It is important for Malaysians not to be gagged into silence on what is perhaps the most contentious issue standing in the way of better inter-communal relations in the country. The quicker we can reach consensus on what the social contract means — not only in terms of what was agreed by the nation’s early leaders in the past but also, more importantly, on how this agreement should be understood by Malaysians today — the less divided and more hopeful [we can be about] our future.”
Academics Dr Lim Teck Ghee, Dr Mavis Puthucheary, Dr Azmi Sharom, Dr Toh Kin Woon and Dr Wan Zawawi Ibrahim, in a joint press statement. They stressed that Malaysians should have the benefit of reading the Reid Commission reports to understand the logic and wisdom or our founding leaders. They said this was preferable to depending on “politically skewed interpretations of what is supposed to comprise any agreement or social contract for that period.” (Source: The “social contract” — Concerned scholars, The Malaysian Insider, 27 Oct 2010)