MCA stands firm on debating social contract

By Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

The MCA insisted today that the social contract could be discussed behind closed doors, dismissing warnings by Umno delegates to Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties to stop questioning Malay rights.

Yesterday, Umno permanent chairman Datuk Badruddin Amiruldin told MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek not to question the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity target.

Negri Sembilan delegate Datuk Jalaluddin Alias also slammed Dr Chua for allegedly interfering in the Umno assembly affairs, following his remarks that the social contract should not be debated openly.

 “However, the party disagrees with the view that (the) social contract cannot be discussed at all,” MCA publicity bureau deputy chairman Loh Seng Kok said in a statement today.

“MCA is only voicing out the views of the ‘rakyat’,” he added.

Loh pointed out that Dr Chua merely exercised his right to freedom of speech as enshrined in the Federal Constitution when he suggested that the social contract be discussed behind closed doors.

“(The) ‘rakyat’ can discuss on any issue as long as it is done through legal means in view that the Federal Constitution allows the ‘rakyat’ to have freedom of speech,” said Loh, who is also an MCA central committee member.

When opening the Umno general assembly two days ago, party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak had called for an end to the race debates, saying that the special position of the Malays was part of the social contract agreed before independence in exchange for citizenship for the non-Malays.

He stressed that the issues were enshrined in the Federal Constitution and cannot be amended without the consent of the Conference of Rulers.

Riding on Najib’s guarantee that the Malay constitutional position cannot be reviewed, delegates at the party’s general assembly had urged the party leadership to enhance the protection of Malay political power.

Jalaluddin called for the review of the seat allocation agreement among BN parties in Peninsula Malaysia while Penang delegate Mohamad Farid Saad urged the government to intervene over the problem of low land ownership among the Malays in the state.

Today, Loh warned however that barring people from discussing issues of concern would cause a decline in voter support.

“In today’s globalised world, if we are still telling the ‘rakyat’ that there are issues that cannot be discussed, it is equivalent to being ignorant, stubborn and refusing to change for the better in serving the ‘rakyat’. In the end, those who refuse to change will be abandoned by the people,” he said.