Wednesday, July 9, 2008

THE SOCIAL CONTRACT


Posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at www.chedet.com on June 30, 2008 3:59 PM

(versi Bahasa Malaysia di akhir artikel ini)

1. There has been a lot of talk about a Social Contract in Malaysia.

2. Perhaps it would be useful if we understand this concept a little bit more before we argue about it.

3. If we care to look into the origins of the social contract we will find that it is a European concept enunciated by European philosophers. The most famous is Socrates, the Greek philosopher who was jailed and sentenced to death.

4. He refused to escape and migrate to another Greek city-state because he believed he was bound by a social contract to live by the laws of his state of Athens as he was born and brought up there, benefiting from the aforesaid laws.

5. Before this social contract, men were said to live in a State of Nature, where there was no law to govern the relation between individuals in a small primitive society. The law of the jungle prevailed where might was right.

6. As society grew it became necessary to have laws which govern the behaviour of members of the society. All citizens were committed to respect and submit to the laws. This understanding is in fact a social contract although there was no oral or written undertaking to respect and submit to the laws. This was the view of Socrates. Later philosophers enlarged on this concept but there was never a requirement for a formal contract.

7. The Greeks are said to practise a democratic form of Government. However the citizen who had the right to participate in Government were limited to male adults of sound mind. Women, children, slaves, captives, criminals and foreigners were not accorded the rights of citizens and could not play a part in Government.

8. Much of European civilisation is based on the Greek civilisation. But as society grew bigger, direct participation in Government by the people became impossible.

9. At one stage democracy was abandoned in favour of feudalism in which a monarch ruled by Divine Right. In Asia this had always been the form of Government. Nevertheless the submission of the subjects to the Monarch was also a form of social contract.

10. Later feudalism was replaced by republicanism i.e. a return to the public of the power of Government.

11. Numerous forms of republics have emerged, each with its own set of laws and rules regarding the government of the country. But whatever may be the form, the laws and the rules, the citizens are bound by them. There would be no written contract but for foreigners to accept the rights of citizenship, there would usually be a formal undertaking to submit to the laws and system of the Government of the country.

12. After becoming citizens their offspring would automatically be regarded as citizens and as citizens they need not swear a formal oath of allegiance to the country. This right is through jus sanguinis i.e. through blood relation.

13. But there can also be citizenship by being born in the country or jus soli. This can be provided for by the laws of the country.

14. But whether citizenship is gained through jus sanguinis or jus soli, the social contract still applies even though there is no formal oath taking.

15. What is clear is that a social contract is a general understanding on the part of a citizen to submit to and obey the laws and the institutions of the country. The social contract governs not just his relation with the country, its Government and its institutions but also his relationship with his fellow citizens.

16. After receiving comments on this I will talk about the Malaysian social contract and its effect on Malaysia.

*****

KONTRAK SOSIAL


1. Banyak yang diperkatakan berkenaan Kontrak Sosial di Malaysia

2. Mungkin ada baiknya kita cuba faham akan konsep ini sebelum kita berbahas dengan lebih lanjut.

3. Jika kita kaji asal usul kontrak sosial kita akan dapati bahawa ianya adalah satu konsep bangsa Eropah yang diketengahkan para falsafah Eropah. Yang termasyhur adalah Socrates, ahli falsafah berbangsa Greek yang telah dipenjarakan dan disabitkan hukuman bunuh.

4. Beliau enggan lari dan berhijrah ke bandar Greek yang lain kerana beliau percaya bahawa ia terikat dengan kontrak sosial untuk hidup berlandaskan undang-undang Athens di mana dianya dilahir dan dibesarkan dan mendapat manfaat daripada undang-undang tersebut.

5. Sebelum adanya kontrak sosial ini, manusia dikatakan hidup di dalam Keadaan Semulajadi, dimana tidak ada undang-undang untuk mentadbir perhubungan antara individu dalam masyarakat primitif yang kecil. Yang ada hanyalah undang-undang "belantara" dimana yang kuat selalunya benar.

6. Apabila masyarakat berkembang terdapat keperluan undang-undang bagi mentadbir perilaku sesuatu masyarakat. Setiap warganegara komited terhadap perlunya hormat dan akur pada undang-undang. Pemahaman ini merupakan kontrak sosial walaupun tidak terdapat apa-apa pengakuan untuk hormat dan akur terhadap undang-undang secara lisan mahupun bertulis. Ini pandangan Socrates. Para falsafah selepasnya memperluaskan konsep ini tetapi tidak pernah ada keperluan untuk kontrak secara formal.

7. Bangsa Greek dikatakan mengamalkan bentuk Kerajaan demokratik. Tetapi rakyat yang behak menyertai Kerajaan dihadkan kepada lelaki dewasa yang waras. Wanita, kanak-kanak, hamba abdi, tahanan, penjenayah dan warga asing tidak diberi hak sebagai warganegara dan tidak boleh memain peranan dalam kerajaan.

8. Sebahagian besar tamadun Eropah berasas kepada tamadun Greek. Tetapi apabila masyarakat berkembang besar adalah mustahil untuk mereka membuat penyertaan secara langsung didalam Kerajaan.

9. Pada satu peringkat, demokrasi ditolak dan sistem feudal diterima di mana raja memerintah dengan penuh hak ketuhanan. Ini merupakan bentuk Kerajaan yang terdapat di Asia. Bagaimanapun, ketaatan rakyat kepada Raja juga merupaka satu bentuk kontrak sosial.

10. Kemudian feudalisme digantikan dengan sistem republik iaitu mengembalikan kepada rakyat kuasa Kerajaan.

11. Pelbagai bentuk republik telah wujud, setiap satunya dengan undang-undang dan peraturannya tersendiri berkenaan kerajaan Negara tersebut. Walau apa pun bentuknya, undang-undang dan peraturan-peraturan, setiap warganegara terikat dengannya. Tidak ada kontrak bertulis tetapi bagi orang asing yang menerima hak warganegara, pada lazimnya akan ada perakuan formal untuk menturuti sistem dan undang-undang Kerajaan Negara itu.

12. Selepas menjadi warganegara, anak mereka akan secara automatik dianggap sebagai warganegara dan sebagai warganegara mereka tidak perlu bersumpah kesetiaan kepada Negara berkenaan secara formal. Hak ini adalah melalui jus sanguinis, iaitu melalui pertalian darah.

13. Kewarganegaraan juga boleh diperolehi dengan cara dilahirkan didalam Negara itu atau jus soli. Ini boleh disediakan oleh undang-undang Negara itu.

14. Samada kewarganegaraan diperolehi melalui jus sanguinis atau jus soli, kontrak sosial masih diguna pakai walaupun tiada pengakuan sumpah secara formal.

15. Yang jelas, kontrak sosial adalah kefahaman secara umum seseorang warganegara untuk menghormati dan akur kepada undang-undang dan institusi sesebuah negara. Kontrak Sosial ini tidak terhad kepada mengurus perhubungannya dengan negara, Kerajaan dan institusi, tetapi juga perhubungannya dengan rakan senegaranya yang lain.

16. Saya akan menulis berkenaan kontrak sosial dan kesannya terhadap Malaysia selepas menerima komen terhadap rencana saya yang ini.