October 24, 2008
The Social-Contract/Constitution Equivalency
By Tricia Yeoh
LAST week, the Conference of Rulers issued a much-publicised statement. The statement reiterated the special position of the Malay rulers, Islam, the Malay language, and the genuine interests of other communities as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. The rulers reminded Malaysians that it is not proper to dispute the provisions of the Federal Constitution.
Many have pondered the significance of the statement’s issuance, since it comes immediately following a series of incidents that increasingly tug at Malaysia’s inter-ethnic fabric.
There was the decision by the Home Ministry to declare Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) an illegal organisation.
And then there is the continuing showdown between Seputeh Member of Parliament Teresa Kok and Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia. Both parties are at psychological war with the other, although Kok was never proven guilty over the so-called azan debacle, which started the face-off.
The rulers’ statement, just as the constitution on which it is based, is likely to be interpreted differently by various quarters. Barisan Nasional leaders welcomed the assurance that all communities in Malaysia are treated fairly.
However, due to the timing of the statement, it could also be interpreted as a convenient legitimisation of the more racist factions within Umno. It could lead to an even more aggressive defence of the ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) discourse.
Read more here.
Comments are closed.