Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ISDEV LECTURE SERIES VII IN THE NEWS - 2

By Andrea Filmer
Date:22 Oct 2008, Wednesday


Need to explain social contract to the young: Muhyiddin

GEORGE TOWN - There is a need to explain the history and rationale behind the country’s social contract but it must be done in a proper manner. Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the younger generation had not been equipped with knowledge on the agreement and was therefore susceptible to questioning it.

“Many younger Malaysians are not in the know about what the social contract is all about and yet, we say they have to respect this very important component in our constitution,” he said Tuesday after giving a talk in Universiti Sains Malaysia.Muhyiddin said the recent statement issued by the Conference of Rulers was a testament to the importance of protecting crucial elements in the social contract including the special status of bumiputras, protection of other races, Islam as the country’s official religion and position of the Rulers.

“I think there is a reason why the Rulers expressed themselves on these matters. Maybe there is a need to explain (the social contract) but it should not be a debate but more of an explanation on what the content is and its relation to history on how the agreement was drafted and accepted. Muhyiddin also proposed that the history of the social contract be embedded in the university curriculum. “It could be done academically within a proper environment as part of their (the students’) study. That would be a good start for the younger generation to be fully equipped with the basic fundamentals of the constitution,” he said.

When asked whether there would come a time when the social contract could be left behind, Muhyiddin said there was no timeline as it had already been enshrined in the country’s constitution. “There is no start or end; it is done and is part of our constitution. It has not outlived its time because that is what had been agreed upon.“There is no timeline for the social contract because it has already been enshrined (in the constitution). It is not a separate contract, but is in the constitution and has been adopted and accepted by all,” he said.

On concerns of an emerging trend of money politics in the Umno party elections, Muhyiddin said he had received reports about incidents but obtaining evidence was a challenge.

“We have already asked that the (Umno) disciplinary board be more aggressive in managing this issue and we also request members come forward to report (any incidents).“If we choose a leader just because he gives you more money, then we are going to put in leaders who are not accepted by Umno and the rest of the country and that will be very bad for us.“I hope delegates will evaluate the candidates on the basis of meritocracy because what we decide in the Umno Supreme Council has got a bearing on the nation as well,” he said.

Muhyiddin is currently the front runner for the deputy president post ahead of the party elections next March. On former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad making statements on the party, Muhyiddin said an open attitude needed to be adopted.

“Freedom of expression is part and parcel of the democracy that we practice. Of course sometimes it is not nice, but nothing is nice nowadays. And there are a lot grassroots members who talk a lot about what the Government is. Some you can hear, but many don’t.

“I do not think we can stop people from saying what they want to express, including Tun,” he said.

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