The development of “Islamic welfare regime” in South East Asia : Drawing experiences from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Indonesia

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Using evidence from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Indonesia, the purpose of this paper is to explore how Islamic welfare regime notion evolves in a South East Asian (SEA) context.

To gain a broad frame of reference in discussing Islamic welfare regimes in SEA, this paper employs a combined political-economic and cultural approach to analyze how Islamic welfare ethics in Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Indonesia are developed. The specific criterion used to make a comparative analysis of these countries is an interconnection between four levels of Islamic welfare actors (state, market, community and household/relatives) in providing social welfare.

Malaysia and Indonesia have demonstrated the most balanced form of “Islamic welfare diamond” in the relationship between welfare actors, even as the state-centered welfare initiative continues to be expanded, while Brunei has taken a different route. A monarchical political system underpinned by high economic growth has enabled the state to play a major role in welfare distribution, rather than other welfare actors. For this reason, Malaysia and Indonesia are described as having an “Islamic inclusive welfare regime,” while Brunei is reported to have an “Islamic welfare state regime.”

For the purpose of theoretical advancements, there is no doubt that this paper has proposed an alternative framework to developing an understanding of how the Islamic ethical code is articulated in a wide range of welfare configurations within the “South East Asian context.”
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-235
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This paper forms part of a special section “Islamic foundations of social policy and welfare”, guest edited by Ali Akbar Tajmazinani.The author would like to express the author’s gratitude to Professor Ali Akbar Tajmazinani (Allameh Tabataba’i University, Iran) and Professor. Collin C. Williams (Sheffield University, UK) for preparing this issue. The author also would like thank to all members of Indonesian Social Policy Club (SPC) and KAYU International Library team for their encouraging support. Also, the author dedicates this paper for Jamaah Muslim FISIPOL Universitas Gadjah Mada.


  • Social policy
  • South East Asia
  • Political economy
  • Islamic welfare regime


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