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 the RM81.5 million originally provided in the 2021 Budget.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun said the motion was passed by a majority vote after being debated by six MPs, three each from the government and opposition blocs.
The motion was proposed by Deputy Finance Minister Abd Rahim Bakri before the start of the debate at the committee level of the Supply Bill 2021 for the communications and multimedia ministry.
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 communication and multimedia ministry’s Jasa by RM45 million,” he said.
Rahim said Jasa, now known as the Community Communications Department (J-KOM), has a different role 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 inculcate an awareness of cyber security.
He said the goal 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 practises 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 as well as the allocation announced in the 2021 Budget which was deemed too big at a time when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic.