PETALING JAYA: The RM85.5mil allocation to the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry continues to be questioned, this time by the National Patriots Association.
Patriot president Brig-Jen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said Jasa was originally intended to explain the government's initiatives and programmes but had morphed into Barisan Nasional's political propaganda machinery prior to GE14.
Mohamed Arshad questioned why Jasa was "retained and not disbanded".
"Even if it is meant to disseminate (information on) the government's initiatives and programmes, what is so special about Jasa that other agencies of the ministry can not do?
"This is sheer duplication of tasks and a wastage of funds. At a time when our country is so squeezed of funds, such wastage is irresponsible," he said in a statement on Saturday (Nov 7).
In Budget 2021 tabled on Friday (Nov 6), the government allocated RM85.5mil for Jasa, compared to RM30mil in Budget 2018.
Under the Pakatan Harapan government, Jasa was dissolved.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who spoke in Parliament after the tabling of Budget 2021 on Friday criticised the allocation, saying it was larger than allocations for the poor and disabled.
"Therefore, our debates next Monday will point out these figures," he said.
In July, Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said that Jasa would be revived in order to help staff terminated after the department was disbanded by the former Pakatan administration.