The ASEAN Partnership for Social partnership influenced the Brunei government to incorporate welfare programs in 2013 and as a result of that ASEAN Declaration the Brunei government was compelled to implement such measures (Cheung 2017). As far as the political nexus of Brunei is concerned it can be stated that rule of the monarch is a significant feature of the country. The Sultan serves as his own Prime Minister, minister of defence, foreign minister and the minister of finance. Therefore, the future and benefits of the citizen relies in the hand of the Sultan of Brunei and the Sultan is responsible to take care of the citizens. Therefore, the Brunei government tries to set an excellent social security system keeping in mind that most of the citizens are working for the government and the citizens must have a permanent residence. This leads to the welfare and social assistance program of the country for the benefit of the citizens. In this regard, the government provides several beneficial schemes to the Brunei people in terms of old age pensions, survivor benefits, unemployment benefits, maternity grants and so on. In this regard, the aid program was initiated in 1984 with the name of Old Age Pension (Young et al. 2017). Based on this government intervention and the concept of welfare state it can be argued that Brunei plays a significant role in providing social protection to its citizens. In response to this, the government initiates a series of social welfare programs such as the pension program for the senior citizens, employment, special provisions to the disabled and other cognate topic. These practices of the government are considered to be an important and benevolent steps in order to develop a strong human resource and healthy lifestyle across the nation. Despite of all those initiatives there are some issues and problems that the Brunei government and citizens are suffering with in order to make a better lifestyle. The adverse impact of the social welfare policies and programs is also imperative to identify in order to address the problems.
In course of time, Brunei is suffering with an intense dependency of the citizens over social welfare programs that can be subject for further investigation. Therefore, the purpose of this report is to illustrate and point out the existing social assistance policies in Brunei and evaluate the dependency of the citizens on those policy. In addition to this, the report also encompasses a strategy to resolve this issue and reshape stability inside the country. From that point of view, the research proposal is resembled with the aims and objectives of the research at first. It is coupled with the research theme and research question that connotes the core concept of the research. Besides this, the research also explains the previous researches on this theme into the literature review section. A methodology is also required in order to make the research organised and successful. Finally, the discussion concludes with identifying the shortcoming in the policy and with this points out mitigation strategy that is highly effective for the research.
Aims and objectives of the research
As far as the aims of the research is concerned, it can be stated that this report is going to analyse the social welfare framework in Brunei and the growing dependency of the recipients on this mechanism. In this regard, the report ought to deal with social security strategy in order to make a situation where the recipients will get benefits without being compromised.
In addition to this, the goal of the report is to identify the welfare benefits provided to the needy people in Brunei. From that point of view, it is obvious that the Brunei government will provide essential benefits to the citizens but it is important to restrict the proneness of the citizen towards government benefits. In this regard, the first objective of the research is to restrict the citizens to exploit the benefits provided by the government. In addition to this, the second objective is related to the mitigation plan for reducing the growing dependency of the Brunei people on the government social welfare program.
Welfare dependency is a practice or a trend for which the needy people or the citizens of a country depends on the government to get welfare benefits so that they can have a better life and able to cope with the mainstream society. In other words, Offe (2018) advocated that the role of the welfare dependency is to develop such policy and program that can elevate the lifestyle and living standards of the people in order to give them the opportunities of coping with the rests of the country. On the other hand, Hicks (2018) pointed out that the concept of welfare state is based on the paradigm of social system that has an intricate relationship with the political discourses. It means, the political doctrine of a country is responsible to highlight the welfare practices. In this context, Feldstein (2018) mentioned that the means of welfare has an orientation towards the citizens of a country. There are several ways to achieve welfare in a country in terms of the economic development and the social wellbeing. As a matter of fact, for achieving those factors it is important to deal with the political elements. In the research, Adler, Hammitt and Treich (2014) figured out the paramount role of the political intervention in order to successfully develop the economic and social progress.
Purpose of social welfare policy
Welfare state is an ancient concept that was also prevalent in ancient Greece as well. In this context, the purpose of the welfare state in the modern concept has a close affinity with its primitive archetype to some extent. In the words of Lawrence-Webb (2018) it can be argued that the concept of welfare is considered to be a counter-active measure in order to prevent revolution and deep rooted secessionist struggle. There are myriad of conceptual framework that are resembled with the paradigm of welfare policy. In this context, it can be stated that the notion of Welfare is associated with ensuring better education, well housing and healthy working life of the people that brings more productivity and less radical attitude which are important for the progress of a nation (Reid 2017). As a matter of fact, the purpose of the welfare is to safeguard the rights and tradition of the people so that there will be a healthy connection and communication between the people. On the contrary, as per the perspective of De la Porte and Heins (2016) it can be argued that the role of the welfare state is to penetrate into the heart of the people so that the sovereignty and fraternity of the country will be established resiliently. The idea of Welfare is also associated with the social system that observes the welfare of the citizens (Pierce et al. 2014). The judicious transfer of the resources and helping or aiding the lower rungs of people inside a country can be highlighted as important facets in relation to the implication of welfare practices. In response to this, the research of De Vroom and Øverbye (2017) connoted the relationship between democracy and welfare state. In his words Goldthorpe (2017) ascribed that there in a democratic nation it is important to safeguard the interests of the people. Therefore, the welfare framework is able to develop a better environment that is related to achieving and preserving the democratic practices across the nation.
Relation between welfare state and economic performance
The magnanimity of modern economy with its fundamental basis on the free trade approach pushed the nations to develop such a framework that is associated with the international economic trend (Mkandawire 2015). In this context, it is important to figure out the inter-relation between the citizens and the welfare state. According to Andersen (2015) it can be stated that the purpose of the welfare state is to shape and retain high lifestyle of the citizens so that the GDP and the national income will be boosted in accordance with the free trade economy. Self-sufficient and self-reliance is a big concept encircled the concept of welfare state. In this regard, the research of Angelini et al. (2015) highlighted the traditional transformation of the welfare of the citizens and the influence of capitalism on it. As the capitalist society requires a higher economic growth with a dynamic, innovative and efficient economy so that it is related to the lifestyle and per capita income of the citizens. In this regard, the role of the welfare state is to develop and safeguarding the interests of the citizens with a motive to increase their lifestyle profoundly. Moreover, Torcal (2014) asserted that the universality and uniformity of the welfare paradigm help to set up a better framework that is associated with the economic growth in a country.
Utilitarianism and social welfare state
As far as the ideology of Utilitarianism is concerned, it can be stated that the concept is highly associated with theory of welfare state. From the research of Saez and Stantcheva (2016) it can be argued that the role of the Utilitarianism is to formulate maximum opportunity for maximum number of people. In this context, the theory of Bentham and Mill propounded a high importance of the Utilitarianism to preserve the rights of the citizen. Moreover, Boutilier et al. (2015) tried to point out that Utilitarianism tends to promote happiness and wellbeing of the people not by the intervention of the sate but it also has an ethical standpoint that facilitates more spontaneous and flexible outcome by indicating benefits for the maximum number of people. In this context, the perception of happiness is associated with the balance of pleasure over pain.
In contrast to this, it can be argued that the purpose of the social welfare is to some extent advocates the similar as the Utilitarian principle formulates. However, as per the research of Piacquadio (2017) it can be argued that Utilitarianism has become obsolete in the presence case scenario and social welfare is considered to be a replacement of it. From that point of view, the concept of welfare and Utilitarianism leads to the same understanding. The principle of welfare is identified as a normative approach that is resembled with the social basis and distribution of the benefits equally to the citizens. In response to this, it can be asserted that the practice of welfare state is an effective measure that connotes the same understanding of the Utilitarianism. In his words, Alon and Gayer (2016) advocated that the purpose of the welfare measures are same as the motive of Utilitarianism which is identified as important aspect for safeguarding the rights of the citizens.
As far as the social welfare policy is concerned, it can be stated that the Canadian government puts emphasis on the social assistance program for the backward people who are suffering with both economic and social problems. Irrespective of class, creed, religion or gender the Canadian government tries to formulate such a measure that is associated with the benefits of the people. From this understanding it can be argued that the Canadian government introduces the multi-billion dollar system that will transfer money and services to the Canadians to deal with array of social needs (Walks and Clifford 2015). As a matter of fact, the social welfare policy in Canada has its historical relevance since 1994 when the country is resembled with the social policy tracks. In this regard, the Canada Assistance Plan (CAP) is very pertinent to discuss. It provides federal, financial and provincial social assistance to the backward people irrespective of their gender, class or creed. Moreover, the Canadian government also takes initiatives to support the unemployed Canadians.
However, the government is highly concerned about the increase of dependency among the Canadian people. Reduction of welfare benefits and intensified efforts of the welfare recipients to find employment are considered to be the mainstay of government concern. The primary objective of the Canadian Welfare policy is to tighten enough the welfare policy so that only the vulnerable classes can get the benefits of the government endorsement (Podger 2017). As a matter of fact, the Canadian government encourages the backward groups to deal with the problems themselves. The purpose of the government is to make them efficient enough to deal with their own problems. In this context, ‘welfare-to-work’ is very relevant that is associated with a series of initiatives to restrict the social assistance and reduce the benefit levels of the Canadians. As per the investigation of Kingfisher (2015) it can be argued that the workforce program provided by the Canadian government is resembled with the purpose to ensure safety and security of jobs for the Canadians and complemented by work related services.
The Australian Welfare system also tries to deal with the better employment and social outcomes. In this regard, the Australian government introduces a series of welfare measures for the citizens in terms of providing incentives to the workers, supporting the employed and unemployed labourers. Moreover, the social and economic participations of the citizens are also encouraged in order to develop the economic and financial stability across the nation. Sustainability and affordability or purchasing power are the major concerns for the Australian government to usher more development and progress both globally and domestically (Mendes 2017). In this context, the Australian government creates a Reference Group with the purpose to monitor the issues regarding payments and taxation. In fact, this reference group is entitled to submit its final report to the Minister for Social Services. Indeed, the Australian government puts emphasis on the relation between family and society. In this context, it can be stated that the purpose of the family and society program is to develop beneficial environment for the people in order to maintain a healthy and equal opportunity. Ethnicity is considered to be one of the major problem that the Australian government puts more focus (Alston 2018). Changing working patterns and the employment opportunities are intricately related with it.
However, the purpose of the Australian government is highly is mainly circled around developing the self sufficiency of the Australian citizens. In this regard, more dependency of the people on the government endorsement is strictly prohibited in the nation. In this context, it is pertinent for the government to deal with the aspirations of the people. Therefore, the Australian government reflects a great deal of emphasis on the self-sufficiency measures and motivated the people to take consider it as their aim in life (Moore et al. 2015). In response to this, skill developing program and social life developing measures are taken that directly enhance the efficacy of the social welfare development. In this regard, it can be stated that the purpose of this social welfare frameworks are not only aiding and supporting the vulnerable groups but also guiding and enhancing their abilities so that they can get the equal opportunity in aspects of life.
The social welfare policy of the UK government is very effective and insightful enough to help the citizens adequately. In fact, each and every governmental department is responsible to conduct social welfare measures for the benefit of the needy people. It can be stated that social welfare practice in UK is based on the ministerial efficiency and the economic planning. Therefore, the primary focus of the UK government is resembled with the growth of economic assistance in terms of helping the needy people (McKee, Muir and Moore 2017). As a matter of fact, the UK legislation segregated the social welfare framework into three segments. The first is associated with the children and the young generation. The second one puts emphasis on the working people and the third genre is related to the old people. National Health Service, the employment measures and social and family measures are associated with social framework in United Kingdom (Kiess et al. 2017). In addition to this, the liberal reforms of the UK government is also marked the traditional laissez faire attitude which is the cornerstone of capitalist economy. Therefore, it can be argued that the government intends to ensure a high and healthy lifestyle for the UK citizens that is extensively intertwined with the purchasing power of the people. In this context, the lack of per capita income is considered to be the main problem for maintaining capitalism. As per the research carried out by Fox Piven (2015) it can be argued that the purpose of the government is to continue the economic flow and therefore providing benefits for the backward class is considered to be an important aspect to maintain. Henceforth, keeping an eye on the social condition and economic situation, UK government also puts some thrusts on the welfare reform policies. For an example, housing benefits in terms of the local housing allowance or the unemployment allowance policies were initiated in 2015 as a tool to combat with the growing problem regarding economic stability (Barcevicius, Weishaupt and Zeitlin 2014).
The research methodology of a research deals with determining the different types of techniques that would be used for conducting the research on the given topic. As per Lewis (2015), the research methodology is the process that is used for conducting any research in organised and well-structured way. It also helps in gaining an in-depth understanding of the different techniques that are taken into consideration while doing the research.
Types of Investigation
There are a total of three different types of investigation and they are-
- Exploratory- This type of investigation is used when the researcher have no clear idea about the research topic. The research is then conducted with scientific view point (Fisher, Matthews and Gibbons 2016).
- Hypothesis- This type of investigation is used when an hypothesis is required to be developed and on the basis of that hypothesis, the researcher conducts the research for proving that whether the hypothesis is correct or not.
- Descriptive- This type of research investigation is conducted by developing relevant concepts and theories in relation with the research topic (Sekaran and Bougie 2016).
Justification for the type of investigation used
For this research study, hypothesis research investigation would be adopted. The researchers would develop several hypotheses about the relationship in between two or more variables of the research study.
Data Collection Method
Figure – Data collection methods
(Source: Created by Author)
In order to conduct a research study in proper manner, data is very essential to be gathered. Any research study is conducted using either primary or secondary data collection method (Johnston 2017). It is to note that the primary data are the data that are collected or gathered from surveys, interview results and questionnaires. On the other hand, the secondary data are the ones that are gathered from different literary sources, books, journals and articles which have ample of researched information. However, it is to mention that for a research to be conducted in proper manner, both primary and secondary data should be used.
Justification of the chosen data collection method
For this research, the researcher will collect primary data from people who of Brunei who are aware of the existing laws related to data protection globally. An online survey shall be conducted and some set of questionnaires shall be prepared consisting of open ended questions and views of each of the sample shall be taken into consideration. Based on their answers, data analysis will conduct. With the same, it is also to mention that the researcher will also rely on the secondary sources for this research study as well.
Figure 2: Methods of sampling
(Source: Created by author)
There are a total of two different types of sampling methods and they are:
- Probability- This type of sampling method allows the selection of the samples and the respondents randomly (Etikan, Musa and Alkassim 2016). It is a very useful technique for assessing the overall response of the respondents or groups on certain topic.
- Non-probability- This type of sampling method does not allow the researcher to select the respondents on a random basis (Etikan, Alkassim and Abubakar 2016). Hence, to use this sampling method, the researcher should know its target respondents who are appropriate for his research to be conducted effectively.
Justification of the chosen sampling method
For this research to be conducted effectively and relevantly, the researcher shall be relying on the non-probability sampling method. He would select a group individuals or citizens of Brunei, belonging from different social classes in order to assess their view-points on the issue of Growing dependency of the social welfare recipients in social welfare assistance.
There are several issues that a researcher faces in regards to the accessibility of the relevant data on the chosen research topic while conducting a research. One of the major concerns is that of the feedback from the parts of the respondents. It is a significant issue as their feedbacks are not always true. In such cases, the researcher might face issues in regard to the data that he has gathered from those respondents during the survey.
During the research process, researcher needs to maintain an ethical code. As per the Data Protection Act of 1998, it is mandatory for any researcher who is conducting a research on certain topic to maintain a privacy of data that are not published (Granger 2018). He or she is under an obligation of not leaking the details about the respondents. If they do so, they might be held liable for breaching the Data Protection Act. With the same, if they fail to maintain the privacy of the respondent, they might be held liable for breaching of ethical code of conduct. Hence, it is very important for the researcher to take the consent of the respondents prior to proceeding with the online survey.
Data analysis Plan
Data Analysis method is the process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming and modelling data with an aim of supporting the decision-making, discovering helpful details and coming to certain conclusion (Bendre and Thool 2016). Qualitative data analysis and Quantitative Data Analysis are two main categories of Data Analysis methodology. Qualitative Data Analysis technique is the range of processes whereby researcher moves from the data gathered into some forms of explanation, understanding or interpretation of investigated environment. Furthermore, Quantitative Data Analysis is such a systematic way of investigation strategies during collecting numerical data, which allows researcher transforming what is noticed within the numerical data. This, quantitative data analysis method would be selected for analyzing the numerical data gathered from survey conducted among 50 citizens of Brunei.
During conducting research, every researcher faces certain limitations in regards to the research that he has conducted. In this research, the limitations would be time and budget. There is very limited period of time and limited budget and this shall be working as a limitation for this research.
Apparently it can be stated that the policy is a benevolent approach of the Brunei government in order to arrange benefits for the citizens of Brunei. For an example, no taxes for the Brunei citizens has been allocated. Taxes like income tax, goods & services tax
(GST)and the Value added tax (VAT) are redeemed for the Brunei citizens. In this context, it can be stated that the government puts so much flexibility for the people that will foster a natural dependency of the Brunei people on the government social welfare policies. Moreover, the government also levies a great deal of subsidies on the use of petrol and amenities. As per the government report, it can be stated that the petrol price is considered to be the lowest in the world with SGD 0.53 per litre (depd.gov.bn 2018). In compare to this, the petrol price in Singapore and Malaysia are accounted as SGD 1.74 and RM 1.92 per litre respectively (Seda et al., 2018). Subsidies in such a great deal of manner will create problem for the financial condition and stocks of the country. As a result of that people become more intrigue to use fuel despite of having no need of such a volume. This is identified as a problem for the Brunei government as they are failed to perceive idea regarding the purpose of the social welfare. Based on this, it can be ascribed that more reliance on the government benefits perturbs the system intensely and the problems are not restricted in the social issues rather those are transcended towards the political and social levels. For an instance, issues of employment and low literacy rates are causing serious threats for the government. In response to this, the social welfare policy of the Brunei government is also instigated and demoralise the people because of providing them lot of privileges.
For a better understanding of the policy framework provided by the government, the report is going to take instances from different countries such as Canada, Australia and UK to understand the government responsibility and strategic planning. Moreover, this section is not only illustrates the social welfare establishments in those countries rather provides a comparative analysis with the social welfare framework in Brunei. As a result of that it will be helpful to get a clear picture of the flaws and it will be helpful to recommend a better strategic framework for Brunei social welfare practices. In this context, the threats and challenges have to be taken into considerations so that a better policy framework could be implemented. In this context, it can be stated that the social welfare framework of the developed countries like UK, Canada and Australia set an effective outline for the social welfare practice that is associated with development of the vulnerable groups in one hand and encourage them to get self-sufficiency on the other. In other words it can be stated that the role of the social welfare mechanism in those countries is associated with the process to not only aiding the people but also make them self-sufficient in order to take responsibility of their own. Based on this understanding it can be stated that the social welfare policy of Brunei Darussalam only puts emphasis on helping the people instead of having the vision of developing a self-sufficiency among the needy people (Seda et al. 2018).
The recommendation part will discuss the factors that are helpful to make the social welfare process more acute and effective enough. In this context, the recommendations are as follows,
- Maintain an effective policy with an in-depth understanding on the role and purpose of the social welfare policy framework is very important for Brunei Darussalam to develop. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that having a perception regarding the social policy framework will lead Brunei to develop an effective social welfare mechanism that is associated with the development of society and economy of Brunei.
- Moreover, it can be stated that effective work fare is also considered to be an important aspect for the success of social welfare mechanism. It is resembled with the benefit for the people and securing their jobs and employment in order to usher betterment in the process of economic regeneration. Job placement in the public and private sector is highly important with proper wage so that the chances of exploitation will be eradicated.
- Introducing new deal in terms of developing the services in healthcare and education is also an intricate part of the social welfare policy. In this regard, the Brunei government must have the understanding that to make a better and healthy lifestyle of the Brunei people those problems has to be cope with.
From the above discussion it can be stated that the proposal tries to find out different aspects of the social welfare policy in Brunei Darussalam. As the purpose of this research is to figure out the problems and barriers that the social welfare framework of Brunei has been suffered with therefore the research question is also carried out the same perception. In this regard, the research question deals with the growing dependency of the Brunei citizens over the government endorsing social welfare policy. In course of the discussion, apparently it can be seen that the social welfare policy in Brunei is benevolent and beneficial for the needy people but through the understanding of the literature review it becomes clear that there are some flaws in the context of Brunei’s social welfare policy. The literature review illustrates that the concept of social welfare is a dynamic concept and it is associated with several conceptual framework. One of the factors is related to aiding the people but it does not mean other aspects will be neglected. This benevolent approach of the social welfare practice has a close affinity with the Utilitarian principles asserted by Bentham and Mill but in course of the discussion it is also proved that the idea of benefit for the maximum number of people becomes obsolete. From that point of view, the research derives the understanding of social welfare that is considered to be a refined and modern version of utilitarianism. However, there are certain changes that the theory of social welfare is comprised of that differentiate the paradigm of welfare state from the notion of Utilitarianism.
Above all the literature review is also incorporate a great deal of understanding on the social welfare framework prevalent in other countries. For a better understanding, the research chooses UK, Canada and Australian which are identified as developed countries. Social welfare framework of those countries puts emphasis on the benefits of the needy people at first but at the same time encouraging the people to get self-efficient so that a better and healthy economic and social environment can be shaped. In case of Brunei Darussalam this encouragement endorsed by the state is not present and as a result of that the Brunei people guided to a wrong path. The discussion also covers up an insights into the gaps in the policy problems that can perturb the healthy growth of the Brunei society. One of the major reason behind this ever-growing issue is the inadequate role of the government and its lack of insights that are obstructing the main objective of the social welfare framework. Therefore, from the above discussion it can be concluded that the research rightly pointed out some gaps in the social welfare framework of Brunei that are responsible to encourage the people to rely on the government support extensively. In this regard, the above mentioned recommendations will be effective enough to bring efficacy and success for the social welfare mechanism in Brunei Darussalam.
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