Malaysia The Welfare State?


“Welfare policies” are always controversial issues for various reasons. Who gets what and why is the major question. In Malaysia, answering “who” leads quickly to debates on class and race and what-not, answering “what” leads to fiscal arguments and answering “why” leads to ideological quarrels. Be that as it may, Malaysia has always had interventionist governance, and the new disputes are welcomed for highlighting what nation building is about.

EVER SINCE THE Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) muktamar in June, which had as its theme the “welfare state” policy concept, there has been a scramble by the ruling coalition to respond, and not so gracefully either. Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak claimed that PAS had plagiarised the idea, stating that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had already been implementing the welfare state policy in Malaysia and was doing it better than the PAS government of Kelantan ever could.

This seems to have provided generous room for a policy and idea competition to flourish – the fight for which side is dishing out more aid for the locals.

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