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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Honest dialogue needed before 'new social contract'- analysts

Honest dialogue needed before 'new social contract'- analysts
KUALA LUMPUR: Analysts are split over whether the call by Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to draw up a new social contract is a good idea.
However, two analysts Astro AWANI spoke to agreed that what is needed is honest dialogue before the country can move forward.
“It is welcomed idea, and I think Malaysia is reaching a stage of maturity where we are reaching Vision 2020. We are a globalised world where we need to move beyond our comfort zones, this might be necessary,” said Political analyst Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria.
Denison said that it that in the interest of Malaysia as a whole, it might be necessary to look at the terms and conditions and also implementation and to see what were the gaps.
“I think an honest review where we can do it first as a consultative process among various stakeholders and then open to public engagement is feasible,” he said.
Denison, however, stressed that some things are non-negotiable and historical, while others in terms of specific targets and things can be negotiated together.
He warned that the discussions must not be polarising and should stay away from “Us vs them” and “majority vs minority” debates but has to be “in the context of Malaysians as a whole”
“ I think if people are open it is valid to have an actual (social contract) review discussion with an open mind and with a clear rationality... then we can move on to legislative policy and deliberate changes,” he said.
Denison said that if there is no political will to have open engagement with all parties, then discussing the social contract might “open a hornets mess”.
He said that among the areas Malaysia needs improvement on is its participation on human rights conventions on issues such as torture, anti-racism.
Meanwhile, political scientist Dr Chandra Muzaffar said that the social contract, which was agreed upon by leaders in the 50s, should be defended.
“We should not create a new social contract. This consensus is contained in the Federal Constitution, it is not something alien or anything. I regard the Constitutionas the basis of our unity as Malaysians,” he said.
However, Chandra said that honest dialogue on the subject should be trashed out through a unity council as a platform.
“This dialogue it should encourage open discussion and this is something I have suggested 30 years ago,” he said.
Chandra added that this council should be held behind closed doors and should also be done through Act of Parliament, it should be a independent body that is not tied to the executive.
Yesterday, Khairy said that a new social contract should be drawn to allow Malaysians 'to do a hard reboot' of the country.
"Such a move will also allow Malaysians to reshape the basis of their union and better reflect the challenges of today's generation,” he said that the closing of the Association of Voices of Peace, Conscience and Reason (PCORE) - Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) Forum 2013, entitled 'Unity and Multiculturalism: Building A Future Together'.

- english.astroawani.com

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