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MP SPEAKS | Since the tabling of 2021 federal government budget, the revival of Jabatan Hal Ehwal Khas (Jasa) has caught public attention and was widely criticised. Although the majority of Barisan Nasional leaders agreed with the move to revive Jasa, they showed hesitation in allocating the astronomical sum of RM85.5 million to the agency amidst this Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

Many of them criticised the allocation for Jasa as way too big compared to the ones given during the BN administration. However, the truth is, we may have been fooled by what was shown on budget documents.

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak spoke self-righteously in his parliamentary debate last week on the RM85.5 million allocation to Jasa. He claimed that the four-fold increase, compared to BN’s Jasa, is unjustifiable and hence angered the people.

At first, I, too, believed at that time that Perikatan Nasional (PN) has increased the budget for Jasa by many folds compared to the RM30 million in the 2018 Budget, which was tabled by BN. However, thorough research revealed the truth behind the figures and numbers written in the budget documents.

The Pakatan Harapan government dissolved Jasa in October 2018. According to media reports then, about 300 permanent staff would be absorbed into other agencies, as they were career civil servants. Meanwhile, Umno man Faisal Ismail Aziz, who led Jasa after Mohd Puad Zarkashi, resigned as director, claimed that about 800 contract staff lost their jobs following the dissolution of Jasa...

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