PM: RM14,500 spent on supporting frontline workers, J-Kom funds not misused for politics

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said RM14,500 has instead been spent on support programmes for frontliners, but did not specify neither their details nor expenditure breakdown. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said RM14,500 has instead been spent on support programmes for frontliners, but did not specify neither their details nor expenditure breakdown. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has today denied that allocations provided to the Community Communications Department (J-Kom) were “misused” for politically-related programmes.

Ismail Sabri said RM14,500 has instead been spent on support programmes for frontliners, but did not specify neither their details nor expenditure breakdown.

“To date, allocations spent for the purpose of publicity in the management of Covid-19 totals up to RM14,500 for programmes to support frontliners and Covid-19 patients posted at the Malaysia Agriculture Expo Park (MAEPS) Covid-19 Quarantine and Treatment Centre in Serdang.

“Based on programmes that have been implemented and currently in planning, it is utmost clear that there has been no misused of J-Kom allocations for politically-related programmes,” he said in a parliamentary written reply.

Kota Belud MP Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis had asked for details on the allocations spent by J-Kom in managing the publicity of government’s management of Covid-19, saying that the department is accused of misusing its authority for political propaganda against political dissenters.

Ismail Sabri also said J-Kom had implemented several initiatives without any cost by producing a total of 291 creative contents ranging from posters, videos, photos and others for the purpose of social media postings in line with the department’s goal under the Fostering of Covid-19 New Norms Strategic Communications Programme.

J-Kom is the rebranding of the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) with different roles and functions to create two-way communication between the government and the people, namely to convey accurate, authentic, and wise government information to the people.

Accordingly, its rebranding since February 2021 aimed at developing the community, especially among grassroots by nurturing patriotism and a culture of knowledge through a community empowerment approach.

As soon as taking power in May 2018, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had announced Jasa’s dissolution, saying the decision was discussed at a Cabinet meeting in efforts to focus on addressing the national debt of up to RM1 trillion.

Back in November 2020, then Communications and Multimedia minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah gave his assurance that J-Kom will not operate as a political propaganda machine for the government.

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