KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1— Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin today appeared perplexed over the criticism and disappointment aimed at him over his speech on the social contract between the Malays and non-Malays, last week.
Claiming that his speech on the issue during the recently concluded Umno General Assembly had been taken out of context, Khairy wanted to know why many felt they had been let down.
“Is it so disappointing to mention the word ‘social contract’?
“This is the basis of our country, the Federation of Malaya in 1959,” Khairy retorted, urging the public to read his speech in its entirety and to refrain from reading what was reported in news portals, The Malaysian Insider (TMI), Malay Mail Online (MMO) and Malaysiakini.
In his speech at his party’s annual congregation last week, Khairy had stressed that the non-Malays do their part and honour the pledges of their ancestors when they were granted citizenship during the formation of the country.
He said Malaysia’s multicultural society has long been guided by the social contract drawn up between the Malays and the Chinese and Indian communities who opted to take up citizenship.
“However, why are there still those who do not respect this agreement? If the Malays can accept it by not raising the matter of citizenship and acknowledging that we cannot shut down vernacular schools, why are there those among non-Malays who refuse to honour what they have previously agreed upon?” Khairy said in his policy speech at the start of the party wing’s general assembly.
He added that if Malays remained steadfast in their principles of upholding the agreement, the non-Malays should then do the same and hold up their end of the bargain.
Following news reports of the speech, social media was abuzz with those lamenting their disappointment that Khairy, often seen as Umno’s voice of reason, had turned into a run-of the-mill Umno member who dances to the tunes of his grassroot members.
“I mentioned that there certain expectations of all communities. We have to respect that,” Khairy said in attempting to clarify.
“There are expectations from the Malay-bumi community, there are expectations from the non-Malay as well,” he added during a press conference here in the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).
Khairy said that his point on the importance of vernacular schools were also not reported, sending out a wrong impression of him.
Asked to comment whether two of Umno’s top members should be probed for making remarks seen as racially charged, Khairy merely said that anyone who commits any act viewed as seditious should be probed.
He did not take a stand on the matter.
“The most important principle about the Sedition Act is that it is there to protect all Malaysian. It is not a piece of legislation that’s there just to protect one community or one religion,” he said.
Khairy said that the focus should not just be on what was said only in the Umno assembly, but anywhere.
”If anybody makes a statement that is inflammatory or incites hatred, that is seditious, then they should be investigated,” he said it is the discretion of the Attorney-General (AG) to prosecute.
”This (Sedition Act) is a shield for all Malaysians,” he added.
During the Umno General Assembly last week, Kedah Umno’s Dr Mashitah Ibrahim reportedly urged Wanita Umno delegates to speak up after claiming that the Chinese had burned a copy of the Quran in Kedah recently.
However, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir last week said that police investigation had revealed that the Quran was not burnt, but was only torn by a man diagnosed with a mental illness.
Penang Umno’s Datuk Mohd Zaidi Mohd Said, meanwhile, said that the Chinese here gained political power with money earned from vice activities like prostitution and illegal gambling.
He went on to add that the Chinese should thank the Malays for their patience, as their inaction had allowed these vice operations to continue.