Archive for the ‘miniblog’ Category.

The End of Democratic Constitutionalism in Malaysia?

Many of you probably missed my debate with some Malay nationalists or ‘political royalists’ on the Social Contract, Islam and the special position of the Malays way back in 2006. Click on highlighted yellow link in the right panel of this site (Debates on Social Contract/Multiculturalism). LINK. Don’t miss the sections containing historical records on the formation of the Federal Constitution. Part 1 and Part 2

I post here a recent article by the distinguished scholar Clive Kessler, as it provides incisive insights on how the debate has escalated because of heightened existential anxieties (angst) of some influential streams of the Malay ruling elite. These politically astute, influential and powerful zealots intend to sweep away very democratic foundations of our Constitutional democracy.

We are faced with a frightful, clear and present danger. It is incumbent that everyone of us, regardless of our racial and religious background, go beyond our parochial self-interests, set aside our relatively minor differences and unite to defend our fragile democracy.

God forbid that we continue to “main-main masak” or just “masak-masak” while extremists have started a dangerous fire in the kitchen! Continue reading ‘The End of Democratic Constitutionalism in Malaysia?’ »

Social Contract and the Special Position of the Malays: Some Observations on the Historical Context


Some observations on the Historical Context

Malay ethnic nationalists (UMNO politicians in particular) in the past usually avoided making reference to the Social Contract. But recently, these UMNO politicians seem to have overcome their reservations and are urging Malaysians to respect the Social Contract. What is the reason behind this new openness and acknowledgement of the Social Contract? A closer analysis of their speeches would reveal a not-so-subtle attempt to reinterpret the terms of the Social Contract to conform to their ideology of Malay dominance and supremacy. That is to say, these ethnic nationalists are attempting to hijack the Social Contract and disregard for the original intent of the Founding Fathers of the nation. In this case, citing a text without respecting the historical context becomes merely a pretext for ideological manipulation of history.

Continue reading ‘Social Contract and the Special Position of the Malays: Some Observations on the Historical Context’ »

Malaysia Social Contract (Part 2): Excerpts from Historical Documents

The Reid Commission (1957)(Download PDF File)

I) Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission 1957

(London: Her Majesty’s Stationary Office)

Colonial No. 330 Continue reading ‘Malaysia Social Contract (Part 2): Excerpts from Historical Documents’ »

Malaysia Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship

Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship

Whoever seeks to redefine our past seeks to hijack our future. In this regard, recent attempts to rewrite the history of the Social-Legal Contract created at the founding of Malaya/Malaysia in 1957 and our Constitutional history are troubling. These attempts at rewriting of history include two goals: 1) legitimize the transformation of Malaysian politics premised on equal citizenship of all Malaysians to one based on Malay dominance (supremacy) since 1969 (one may call it subversion of Malaysian democracy), and 2) to strengthen demands for implementation of Shariah law in all sectors of society. Continue reading ‘Malaysia Social Contract (Part 1): Religion and Equal Citizenship’ »

Debunking Multiculturalism and Secularism – A Rejoinder

Debunking Multiculturalism and Secularism – A Rejoinder
By Ng Kam Weng

I have been honored to receive two replies to my article “Multiculturalism – How Can it be Wrong?” published in the STAR (25/08/2006), which was in fact a response to an an earlier article “Debunking Multiculturalism” written by Md Asham Ahmad from IKIM (STAR 22/08/06).

Due to the constraint of time, I shall presently only give a brief response to a few issues raised by Md Asham Ahmad and Marzuki Mohamad in their responses to my article. However, in the long term I think it is more fruitful to offer in-depth reflections of the issues related to multiculturalism and politics of recognition. Hence, I shall in due time, post papers such as: Imagined communities and invention of politics in Malaysia; Islamic institutions in British Malaya; Modern social contract theories and consent in politics; Myths and realities of secularization and Christianity; multi-cultural citizenship; the social-legal contract of 1957 and 1963 with excerpts from original documents, etc.

Let me now address some of the issues raised by Mazuki Mohamad and Md Asham Ahmad respectively. Continue reading ‘Debunking Multiculturalism and Secularism – A Rejoinder’ »

Multi-Culturalism – How Can it be Wrong?

This article is written in response to an article published in the STAR on Tuesday 22 August 2006. See “Debunking Multiculturalism” by Md Asham Ahmad from IKIM (Institute of Islamic Understanding). The article is also available in the official website of IKIM


These must be worrying times for Malaysian citizens if an official from IKIM, a government think-tank dedicated to the task of disseminating Islam as a tolerant religion, can come out with an article entitled “Debunking Multiculturalism” that appeared in the STAR (22/08/06).

Credit must be given to the writer, Md Asham Ahmad, for his forthrightness in arguing that Islam – rather than multiculturalism – be the framework for social policy in Malaysia. Nevertheless, it is evident that the writer’s forthrightness is not accompanied by accurate facts, given his skewed reading of Christian history. Continue reading ‘Multi-Culturalism – How Can it be Wrong?’ »

New Miniblog on Current Events

I am currently busy preparing my talks for a public lecture series for an academic institution in a neighboring country. As such I can begin work on this blog only from Nov 2006. But my site maintenance engineer wants to get this template up before leaving the country.

God willing my existential crisis will be desperate enough then to propel me into a productive blogging life.