Upholding SOCIAL CONTRACT in 2010 and Beyond.
Eventful year, 2009, just left us. As events for the past one year unfolded, Malaysians are driven to CRITICAL cross-road, whether to uphold the sanctity of TRADITIONAL VALUES, which had been the bedrock of our PEACE, STABILITY and PROSPERITY, or gamble the future of our children and future generation, for the sake of change.
At the heart of Malaysian traditional values is the long-held SOCIAL CONTRACT among the races, formulated and agreed upon at a time when our country was called PERSEKUTUAN TANAH MELAYU, in English, ‘the Federation of Malaya’. Persekutuan Tanah Melayu was then a TRANSITIONAL GOVERNMENT, on the road to full independence. When Persekutuan Tanah Melayu became independent in 1957, terms of the SOCIAL CONTRACT became the cornerstones of the Federal Constitution. Among others, the Federal Constitution allowed for the SPECIAL POSITION OF MALAYS.
For the younger generation of non-Malays, the inclusion of such provision may be regarded as unfair, racist and humiliating, pushing them to the level of SECOND CLASS citizens. Yet, for their IMMIGRANT FOREFATHERS, it was an acceptable and fair arrangements. When the Europeans first arrived in Tanah Melayu, they initially found only the Malays, and the Orang Asli if they went deeper into the jungles. Malays were the rulers of Tanah Melayu and the entire Malay Archipelago since TIME IMMEMORABLE. And, upon the return of the British in 1945, after short spell of Japanese occupation of Tanah Melayu, the Malays, under the leadership of UMNO and the umbrella of the Malay sultans, had single-handedly forced the British to shelve the MALAYAN UNION, and replaced it with PERSEKUTUAN TANAH MELAYU.
At that juncture, Malays could have rejected any idea of granting citizenship to the then IMMIGRANTS. However, with the persuasion of the British, the Malays finally agreed to the granting of citizenship to about 1.2 million Chinese immigrants, and 0.3 million immigrants, with the CONDITIONS that they recognised the facts that Tanah Melayu was a Malay country, by accepting the MALAY-CENTREDNESS of the Federal Constitution, including the provision of SPECIAL POSITION OF THE MALAYS.
When Malaysia was formed in 1963, with the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak(and Singapore until 1965), the same Federal Constitution was adopted, with additional provisions related to Sabah and Sarawak. The article SPECIAL POSITION OF MALAYS were then expanded to include the BUMIPUTRAS OF SABAH AND SARAWAK.
Persekutuan Tanah Melayu, and later Malaysia, are post-colonial continuation of the ancient Malay Kingdoms and Sultanates which were part and parcel of thousands of years of Malay Civilisation, which ruled this part of the world known as the Malay Archipelago. Since the establishment of the Sultanate of Malacca, Islam had become inseperable part of the Malay culture and traditions.
This background history of our great nation, and the SOCIAL CONTRACT which became the basis of our modern Malaysia, will remain the SPIRIT AND SOUL holding our multi-racial country together, as we continue our post-colonial voyage in and beyond 2010.