THE SOCIAL CONTRACT – correcting the misconceptions

The in-thing nowadays seems to be the phrase “social contract”. Every Tom Dick, hairy or otherwise, seems to be so well versed with this subject. You make a bit of noise about the Federal Constitution and you would be referred to the “social contract”. You question a teeny wee bit about equality and you would surely be referred to the “social contract”. I think the next time somebody cuts you off in a traffic jam, you should shout “social contract” at that socially inept moron!

The latest outburst on the social contract had to of course come from Hishamuddin Hussein, the newly minted UMNO Vice-President. In his last speech as the UMNO Youth Chief – of course, it was also a speech designed to garner votes for his VP-ship – Hishamuddin branded those who question the social contract as “arrogant”. In his words :-

Mereka begitu angkuh, sombong dan bongkak mempersoalkan kontrak sosial dan mempertikai hak kedudukan orang Melayu dan kaum Bumiputera. Kontrak sosial telah sengaja disalah tafsir dan dijadikan tajuk untuk menyemarakkan api perkauman.”

Before we talk of something important and of far reaching consequence, we should know what we are talking about. We should not just blabber aimlessly and throw about allegations and accusations as if it is our God’s given right to belittle other people. What is this creature called the “social contract”? Is there such a thing? Is it like any other contract? Must it be signed? And stamped? If so, who signed it? Before that, who drafted it? What are the terms and conditions? Can they be changed? What if it is breached? What are the consequences of such breach? Does anybody know?

Allow me to explain this concept.