Unmoved by Promised Budget Cut, Sabah MP Says No to Rebranded Jasa

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Tuaran MP Wilfred Madius Tangau has submitted a motion to the Dewan Rakyat to slash the entire budget for the controversial Special Affairs Department (Jasa).

The United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation president expressed scepticism in Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah’s assurance that the agency under his purview would not be used as a propaganda tool against the Opposition and yesterday’s announcement that the original RM85.5 million in Budget 2021 would be reduced, albeit by an unspecified amount.

“I expected there to be a status quo even after the minister announced there would be budget cuts, so I sent the motion in yesterday morning.

“I’m taking this step to ensure that Jasa or whatever the agency will be named, will be abolished completely,” Madius said in a statement today.

He said he hoped the Speaker will allow him to table the motion during the committee stage of the budget debate next week.

Jasa’s controversy comes from its reputation as a propaganda or cybertrooper unit.

The previous Pakatan Harapan government abolished the department in May 2018, but the new Perikatan Nasional government revived it a few months ago.

Saifuddin, who had been foreign minister in the previous PH administration, defended Jasa’s return, promising not to use the department for propaganda.

He also the department would be renamed Jabatan Komunikasi Komuniti or J-kom for short and would be used for “two-way” communication between the government and the grassroots. – MMO