Selangau MP Baru Bian said the money would be better spent by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to provide internet access to 830 schools in Sarawak that have poor internet access or none at all. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Selangau MP Baru Bian said the money would be better spent by the Communications and Multimedia Ministry to provide internet access to 830 schools in Sarawak that have poor internet access or none at all. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUCHING, Nov 9 — Selangau MP Baru Bian has questioned if the RM85.5 million Budget 2021 allocation for the Communication and Multimedia Ministry was meant to revive the defunct Special Affairs Department (Jasa).

Describing the huge amount as “obscene”, he said Jasa had been used as a propaganda tool for campaigning by the former ruling government, Barisan Nasional (BN), and it was disbanded by the Pakatan Harapan government in 2018.

“What is the justification for the huge allocation of RM85.5million under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry? To revive Jasa?”

“It is inconceivable that the government is allocating an obscene amount to revive a unit that has no useful function except as a propaganda tool for the government,” he in a press statement on the national budget which was tabled in Dewan Rakyat last Friday.

The Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) presidential council member said the money would be better spent by the ministry to provide internet access to 830 schools in Sarawak that have poor internet access or none at all.

Baru, who is also Ba’ Kelalan assemblyman, said many of the 830 schools in Sarawak would not benefit from the RM500 million National Digital Network (Jendela) programme because it was targeted at only 430 schools throughout Malaysia.

Baru also said the natives of Sarawak should be included in Budget 2021’s allocation to recruit more than 500 former military and police personnel as well as Orang Asli for patrolling activities to control the biodiversity of forest areas and poaching, as well as to employ 500 people in the local and Orang Asli communities as tour guides at all national parks.

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Similarly, he said that in spite of Sarawak’s tourism potential, there were no provisions to develop the industry except for the RM20 million to improve the infrastructure and intensify promotion at Cultural Villages, including the one here.

“There also is not enough provision to help the hotel and tour industry players who are affected by the pandemic,” he said. — Borneo Post Online



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