Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah was reportedly “shocked” by the RM85.5 million allocated to the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) under Budget 2021.
According to The Malaysian Insight (TMI), a source explained that while he was aware that Jasa would be revived, Saifuddin did not expect the figure to be as high as the one announced during the tabling of the Budget on Friday.
“He was shocked when he saw the amount. He never asked for this much to be allocated to Jasa,” the source was quoted as saying.
It is understood that in response, Saifuddin has tasked the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Mentek with conducting an investigation into the matter.
Meanwhile, in the same report, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Zahidi Zainul Abidin justified the RM85.5 million allocation as a necessary move “to protect the fate of Malay officers sacked” by the previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
Zahidi, who took credit for Jasa’s revival, said that the unit planned to rehire more than 1,000 former Jasa officers. This is in line with a similar statement that he made in July, where he said the unit would be revived to help the staff terminated by the PH administration.
“Yes, it was I who proposed to revive Jasa and Saifuddin knows about it but may have forgotten as he has many responsibilities.
“He is always active and busy, so he sometimes forgets matters that have been brought to his attention,” he said.
According to TMI, Zahidi added that the allocation of RM85.5 million under Budget 2021 was approved by the Finance Ministry after discussions with former Jasa officers.
“So, we bring back Jasa and have allocations for the unit, but we will have to thank Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin for allowing us to do so — to protect the fate of Malay officers sacked from Jasa,” he added.
Meanwhile DAP’s Iskandar Puteri MP, Lim Kit Siang questioned if Zahidi was more powerful and knowledgeable than his minister.
“In view of the nation-wide uproar that the proposed revival of Jasa has caused, will Saifuddin repair the damage and take the lead in the cabinet to abort the revival of Jasa and turn the budget allocation for a special agency to promote national unity and bring Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics together as one united people to fight the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in a statement today.
He called on Saifuddin to give a firm commitment that there would be no revival of Jasa, saying it had been nothing but a propaganda and cybertrooper arm of the Najib government to defend the 1MDB scandal and to demonise the DAP as “anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-royalty and communist”.