KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 – The social contract is not biased towards the Malays as claimed by certain quarters, former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah said in a forum last night. It is instead a form of compromise among all races in the country, Bernama reported him as saying. “For example, Islam is the official religion of the federation, but other religions can be freely practised. The Malays may have their privileges, but other races also have reasonable rights. “However, some people will only ‘read’ half of it and did not even know how the contract was agreed to by the representatives of the three main races in the country,” Bernama quoted him as saying.

He said the boldness of certain quarters in questioning and challenging the national social contract was mainly due to their lack of understanding of its history and meaning. Mohd Noor was one of the panellists in a forum titled “Social contract and the future of race relations in Malaysia” held in Kuala Lumpur last night. The forum was attended by students, teachers, representatives of non-governmental organisation and community leaders and was aimed at providing greater understanding on the elements of the social contract enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Another panellist, Associate Prof Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, said there was a need to stop using the social contract to achieve a political agenda.

“This must stop because I’m worried that such action would turn extreme without them understanding the spirit in the social contract,” the law lecturer from the International Islamic University of Malaysia was quoted by Bernama as saying. The Bernama report also cited National Council of Professors’ National Unity Cluster secretary, Associate Prof Dr Sarjit Singh Gill, who said that some people challenged the social contract because of their lack of understanding about other cultures and religions. “Don’t be extreme and ethnocentric in thinking that our cultures are better than others. We need to look at our similarities, rather than our differences. “For example, some may think that the Subuh ‘azan’ (call for Subuh prayer) is disturbing, but for me, it is also a wake up call for me to perform my religious obligations. From there, we can see the existing similarities,” he said. – Bernama,

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