A couple of Pas central working committee members have clarified what the party means by its ‘negara kebajikan’ goal.
Party ideologues don’t fancy the literal translation of ‘negara kebajikan’ often used in the media i.e. ‘welfare state’, which they feel implies handouts dished out to the public.
Pas central committee member Mujahid Yusuf Rawa prefers the term ‘benevolent state’, which he says is quite different from ‘welfare state’ (the literal but less accurate translation of ‘negara kebajikan’, the term used by party leader Hadi Awang in a speech to signal a shift from the party’s Islamic state goal).
A benevolent state, he points out, “implies putting people first in everything that we do and that the leaders are at the service of the people. Whereas if we use the term ‘welfare’, people would think it is something like the welfare department which just dishes out aid.”
Another Pas central committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad also dislikes the term ‘welfare state’. Instead, he defines ‘negara kebajikan’ as “a nation of care and opportunity – premised on a state based on the Quranic imperatives of Justice (Al-‘Adli) and Care (Al-Ihsan), which will provide opportunity to all to realise their potential to serve the raison d’etre of creation”.