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10 DEC 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat today passed a motion to reduce the allocation for the expansion of the Department of Special Affairs (Jasa) by RM45 million, from RM81.5 million as originally provided in the 2021 Budget.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun announced that the motion was passed by a majority vote after being debated by six MPs, three each from the government and opposition bloc.

The motion was proposed by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Abd Rahim Bakri before the commencement of the debate at the committee level of the Supply Bill 2021 for the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (KKMM).

He submitted the proposal with an amendment for an allocation of RM164,151,656,800 to RM164,106,656,800 in Clause 2 of the Supply Bill 2021.

“This amendment arises from the reduction of the amount allocated for the expansion of the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia’s Jasa by RM45 million,” he said.

Abdul Rahim said that Jasa, now known as the Community Communications Department (J-Kom), has a different role as it is to build a digital ecosystem community thus accelerating migration to the digital world. He said J-Kom is also to improve digital achievement for those who already have the skills, to boost local talents as well as implement smart community programmes among the grassroots and to inculcate awareness of cybersecurity.

He said the goal which had been set for the department was based on the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara as the main thrust to develop the community, especially at the grassroots level.

“Particularly, in the community that practices digital culture and skills and appreciates the meaning and focus of patriotism by using a community empowerment approach. In a real sense, J-Kom’s role is to build and strengthen the digital ecosystem community,” he said.

Earlier, Khalid Abdul Samad (PH-Shah Alam) and Chang Lih Kang (PH-Tanjung Malim) questioned the reestablishment of the department apart from the allocation announced in the 2021 Budget which was deemed too big when the country was facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Dewan Rakyat rejected the motion proposed by five opposition MPs to scrap the allocation of RM81.5 million for Jasa’s expansion and another RM4 million for the department.

The motion was proposed by Maria Chin Abdullah (PH-Petaling Jaya); Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau (UPKO-Tuaran); Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil (PH-Lembah Pantai); Fuziah Salleh (PH-Kuantan); and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (Independent-Jerlun).

Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, when winding up the debate on the motion, said that all parties should reset their thinking in relation to the department.

“This is not Jasa. This J-Kom. For J-Kom we must have a realistic, rational and mature view as well as when dealing with differences of opinion between us,” he said.

“(J-Kom) is for us to develop new thoughts on the importance and real needs of the country’s digital policy,” he said. - Bernama

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