Malaysia’s Forefathers Deserve Nobel Prize – Law Professor

(Bernama) KOTA KINABALU, July 18 (Bernama) — Malaysian leaders in 1957 and 1963 deserve to be awarded a Nobel Prize for their struggles to bring peace to a multi-racial country, said Universiti Teknologi Mara's Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.

He said peace was not only created after an end of a war, but it was also created in efforts to unite people of different races, cultures and beliefs.

"In 1957, the forefathers of the Federal Constitution painstakingly hammered out workable compromises on all the burning ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic issues that the body politic faced during that time.

"The spirit of the Merdeka Constitution was one of moderation, accommodation and compassion. Malaysia's success as a stable, harmonious, prosperous and relatively open society is largely owed to the incredulous vision and foresight of its leaders in 1957 and 1963," he said at a programme for Sabah Justices of Peace here Saturday.

Shad was presenting a paper, 'The Federal Constitution at a Crossroads'.

However, knowledge of the social contracts drafted by the veteran leaders was not widespread, he said.

"The present generation neither understands nor cares about the process or the product of the 1957 and 1963 pacts amongst the major races," he added.

Meanwhile, Shad said the promises made in 1957 and 1963 were being challenged and the constitution had been argued that it should grow and change with time. However, its fundamentals need to be preserved, he said.

"We need to encourage voices of moderation. We need to understand that if the fundamentals are questioned, then that is a game that both sides can play. "We need to understand that what distinguishes Malaysia from other deeply divided societies is the 'social contract' that has kept us together for more than half a century," he said.

Shad said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia concept was a bold initiative that sought to recapture Malaysia's winning formula of 1957 and 1963.

However, he said, the concept needed to be implemented in concrete measures.

"Our prime minister must prove that leaders of substance do not follow opinion polls. They (leaders) mould opinions. Not with guns or power or position…but with the power of their souls," he added.