PAS has unveiled its concept of benevolent state by calling for power to be returned to the people and placing government as trustee to public funds.
Launching a book on the concept in Shah Alam yesterday (pic), PAS president Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang stressed that the benevolent state was in line with Islamic teachings.
“We want to change the current concept in which the government treats the people as business tools, and revenue is taken from the people through fixed taxes.
“The government should be the people’s protector, the leaders are the trustees, so we want the people’s right returned,” said Hadi.
The 59-page book outlines 10 points and also functions as PAS’s election manifesto, serving to complement the Pakatan Rakyat common policy stated in the Orange Book.
The Islamic party gave an undertaking that it would deliver its promises in its first term in power should it win the next general election.
Hadi said the current administration, instead of chanelling the country’s wealth to the people for development, was only interested in circulating wealth among the few while ordinary citizens were left to suffer.
“The country’s wealth should be channelled to the people besides allocating it for development. In fact, if the government wants to find new funding, then taxes will be imposed, but not all people must pay taxes,” he added.
A highlight of the benevolent state is reviewing the Federal Constitution to enshrine the separation of powers. This involves reforming public institutions such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the police.
It also calls for higher quality education, efficient health services, eradication of poverty, affordable housing schemes, direct welfare and a bigger role for civil society and social businesses by reducing taxes and excise duty, and the setting up of a National Dialogue Council.
“If the people evaluate the benevolent state, then it will smoothen Pakatan Rakyat’s path to Putrajaya,” Hadi said.
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This would be far much more benevolent if that same Trustee’s post was rotated among established criminal record free professionals from private sector for a limited term.
This way, more people not within political parties or bureaucracy would have the experience and thus more members of the public would have familiarity with the government. Politicians, much less leaders of political parties, even currently working bureaucrats, are unsuitable to be Public Trustees as conflict of interest, and if unlimited terms are unconscionably allowed, VESTED interests can again occur.
“The government should be the people’s protector . . . ‘ is true to a point but when this Government/People dichotomy exists, oligarchies and nepotistic family blocs tend to result. I will not criticse Hadi’s views as these are doubtless from that golden Islamic era, where there were few people and eductade people were rare, and Hadi’s insular religious background itself affecting his encompassing of ALL and sundry including non-Muslims and non-political party persons (which are in fact even better to ensure checks and balances).
There are MANY people now and everyone should have their day in the sun, perhaps with retired civil servants with spotless records though professionals from the public sector would be best.
Hadi should consider that benevolent state by calling for power to be returned to the people should best have that same public trustee post being held neither by politician (especially committee members), nor bureaucrat (unless there is no qualified person), but rather PRIVATE sector professionals of spotless repute.
The benevolent state should also consider the proclivities of non-Muslim citizens via legalisation, and the prevention of monopolies of licenses gambling venues other than 4D as well as adult service industry zones for those inclined. That way PAS could become votable instead of frightening even Muslim Malays who doubtless have no open recourse to choice of religion or apostasy.
These are the aspects of benevolent state that any responsible Islamic country or political party should consider – so that all citizens are free to choose – the basis of term limited electorates will be based on meritocracy and good policy instead rather than anything else. This article has been somewhat mistitled and should read :
” Some Disparities in PAS’s Understanding of Benevolent State and Actual Benevolent State “. How about a reconsider and rewrite PAS?