KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — PAS today denied Barisan Nasional’s (BN) claim that the Islamist party had lifted the welfare state concept from the ruling coalition.
“Regarding the stealing of ideas or plagiarism, I was surprised with (the prime minister) Datuk Seri Najib (Razak)’s view. I was surprised with his view, but I want to thank him and the Umno leaders who have been talking about welfare,” PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar, when contacted by The Malaysian Insider.
Today, Mahfuz said parts of the welfare state espoused during the party’s recently concluded general assembly has already been implemented where possible.
“The limited capacity is our limited jurisdiction and financially,” he said.
The welfare state was the central theme of the 57th PAS Muktamar, and was the basis of president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang’s keynote address.
“The president’s speeches are usually backed with policy and development issues. I’m sure it is the same with Umno president’s speeches as well as other political parties.
“So, Datuk Seri Hadi’s speech touched on the welfare state concept, which has to do with the 2008 general election manifesto,” Mahfuz said.
But Mahfuz stressed that PAS’s welfare state concept was not limited to financial terms alone.
“It has been misinterpreted by the society that a welfare state just involves money.
“The welfare state is a good thing to unite the people. This concept also emphasises on fair leadership, transparent society, free from corruption,” he said.
Mahfuz later said the concept was also contained within Pakatan Rakyat’s “Buku Jingga” policies, where it laid out the path towards achieving a welfare state and the importance of its implementation.
One political analyst, Prof Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, claimed that PAS had emphasised idea of a welfare state as far back as the 1970s.
Abdul Aziz said that based on his research, the welfare state concept were included in the manifesto during the 1978 general election.
“So, to me, this is not an issue. This is because it has long been brought up by PAS, just that it wasn’t emphasised [before],” he said when contacted.
Newly-elected deputy president Mohamad Sabu explained that the welfare state concept will be incorporated into the PAS manifesto for the 13th general election, but stressed that elements of the concept were already within the 2008 manifesto.
“I will bring it into the next (PAS election) manifesto. So Pakatan Rakyat will also study the welfare state of this country,” he said.