Patriot: Explain huge allocation to Jasa under Budget 2021

Patriot President Brig-Jen (Retired) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji – Malay Mail Picture

By John Isaac

THE National Patriots Association (Patriot) wants the government to explain its RM81 million allocation to the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

Patriot President Brig-Jen (Retired) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji also questioned the decision to bring back the controversial department that had been criticised for being a propaganda tool, saying there were other existing agencies that could disseminate information about government initiatives and programmes.

“What is so special about Jasa that other agencies of the ministry could not do? This is sheer duplication of tasks and wastage of funds. At a time when our country is so squeezed of funds, such wastage is irresponsible,” he said in a statement reported by the Malay Mail.

He said Jasa had deviated from its original objectives over the years and had become a political propaganda machinery during Barisan Nasional’s rule to be used against its political rivals.

“Prior to GE14, Jasa was used to spearhead cybertroopers’ attack against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) politicians,” he added

Jasa was dissolved in May 2018 after PH launched an austerity campaign in a bid to contain the national debt it inherited after winning the general election.

National news agency Bernama cited Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin saying in July that the ministry had started rehiring former officers and could employ as many as 500 people.

The unit was last headed by Umno’s Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi. The former Batu Pahat MP told Malay Mail on August 4 that he welcomed Jasa’s revival, claiming its shutdown was an act of political vengeance spearheaded by the DAP.