Current Affairs, National

Reviving JASA proves that PN prioritizes power consolidation above all else

Press Statement
7th October 2020

As the PN government revives the notorious Special Affairs Department (JASA), it is clear that even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, PN prioritizes its power struggle above all else to consolidate their political positions via spending taxpayers’ money for propaganda.

The PN government tabled the 2021 budget yesterday, and announced that it will allocate RM 85.5 million in total and officially revive JASA.

The first allocation worth RM 4 million is parked under the “strategic communications budget”, while the remaining RM 81.5 million will be parked under “new policies”.

By comparing the budget with the RM 30 million for JASA allocated during the Barisan Nasional period, we can see that it is a whopping 185% increment!

A few years ago, the notorious JASA spread rumours and fake news through various channels including social media and educational institutions, to assist the then BN government to discredit political opponents in order to salvage the corrupt regime.

For instance, in 2016, JASA spent taxpayers’ hard-earned money to organise 1MDB brainwashing talks in many tertiary institutions, including University of Malaya. They even invited the scandal-ridden former 1MDB CEO Arul Kanda exclusively to speak to students in order to “explain” the entire 1MDB scandal, in the hope that they can whitewash corruption in 1MDB and the BN government.

It is therefore crystal clear that Prime Minister Muhyiddin and the PN government hope that through JASA’s propaganda machine, they can overturn PN’s negative impression among the public due to PN’s failed governance as well as various absurd remarks made by PN politicians in the past few months.

Even while our country is still facing the immense challenge of the pandemic, the PN government hopes that their propaganda can gradually change people’s perception towards the government in order to stabilize their shaky regime.

Our country is currently suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, we urgently need the government to take various targeted measures to salvage many economic sectors that are severely impacted, to invest more resources for frontliners and the healthcare sector, and to protect the health and basic rights of marginalised groups.

To our disappointment, the PN government chose to invest a large chunk of money in JASA for propaganda instead.

The fact is, many crucial sectors do not enjoy the first-class treatment that JASA is entitled to in Budget 2021.

The government only allocated RM 80 million for the PeKa B40 programme, while the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA) which is in charge of the welfare and various affairs of the Orang Asli, was merely allocated RM59.21 million.

Unfortunately, the allocation for Chinese independent high schools that was given by the then PH government for the first time in history, was also taken away.

Various examples have shown that the PN government sacrifices the health and welfare of the general public, particularly marginalised groups such as the B40, poor families and indigenous people in order to unscrupulously secure their political benefits.

After the PH government came to power in 2018, we drastically dismantled several departments that were clearly wasting our taxpayers’ money, including the notorious JASA.

However, after the PN government came to power via the backdoor, UMNO publicly called for the revival of JASA a few months ago, and claimed that it would “make up for the sins” of the then PH government’s massive dismissal of civil servants.

Even during the Barisan Nasional administration, only RM 30 million was allocated to JASA in 2018. Yet the PN government allocated RM 85.5 million this year, thus accounting for a 185% increase.

We can’t help but question whether the PN government’s scheme to revive JASA and the increase in JASA’s budget are aimed at satisfying and succumbing to UMNO’s political pressure? Is the PN government trying to win over UMNO with various positions and fat salaries for the sole purpose of preventing the imminent fall of the PN government?

JASA is an agency that the people need the least in Budget 2021, and contributes virtually nothing to the revival of our economy.

The PN government should disband JASA and retract allocations that will waste taxpayers’ money, improve efficiency in governance, and invest our resources in other important or strategic sectors.

Such measures will ultimately ensure that our country can effectively slow down and combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, stabilize economic development that has been severely affected, promote post-pandemic economic reforms, and safeguard the basic rights and interests of marginalised groups.

Chiong Yoke Kong
DAPSY Deputy Chairman
ADUN for Tanah Rata

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