TONTON ASTRO AWANI

PENGUNJUNG SETIA

24 September 2012

SETTING NAYSAYERS RIGHT WITH JASA

RECENTLY, I was on a 30-minute talk show on Johor FM for the state Special Affairs Department (Jasa).
setting
Mohammad Abu Bakar (standing) greets visitors of Jasa’s Hari Raya celebration at the Johor Golf Country Club. Pix by Zulkarnain Ahmad Tajuddin

 A caller suggested that Rukun Negara be made a subject for students.  I thought it was a good idea for students to better embrace all five principles in the Rukun Negara.
  Answering public queries and receiving feedback on government policies, as done in this radio programme, are part and parcel of the duties of Jasa officers.
  Other programmes are carried out by going to the grassroots and engaging with politicians, community leaders or penghulu (village heads), relevant agencies and councillors as well as residents.

  We are a department under the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry (KPKK) established on May 11, 1960, and back then it was known as the special affairs division.

  There are Jasa officers in all 56 parliamentary constituencies and 26 state constituencies in Johor.

  My journey with Jasa Johor started on Dec 5, 1989 in the Serom state constituency to pursue my  passion in politics and nation-building.

  I was promoted to be the Jasa Johor director on Jan 15, 2009. Prior to that, I was a Jasa officer in Serom state constituency for two years and later served in Ledang parliamentary constituency for another two years.

  This is my 23rd year of service in Jasa Johor and I wish to contribute for  as long as I can.  As a child, I heard inspirational stories from my late father, Abu Bakar Mohd Noh on the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) and its reputable leaders including Tun Saadon Jubir, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, and Datuk Onn Jaafar.

  I was interested to be a Jasa officer as I believe that an understanding among different religions and races, is crucial to form a nation.

  In the 1980s, officers were dressed in white and black uniform as  part of a politician’s entourage during their tour.

  Being around them also meant that we will provide a check and balance to the politicians on community needs so they will deliver their promises. It was our responsibility to inform the public with facts for knowledge-sharing or to counter malice thrown by irresponsible groups or individuals. There is a  huge difference between an educated and informed person especially  when it comes to knowing about politics or government policies.   The latter may be swayed by perception  On the run-up to the 2013 Budget, we will receive information from the department’s headquarters to be disseminated to the community via their leaders.  I am grateful to receive guidance from former officers such as Mohd Yusof Arshad, 74, whose courage and wisdom were invaluable to Jasa Johor.

  We worked together briefly and I noticed that people like him were brave and outspoken in upholding the truth with facts.

  This well-versed lot helped to instil confidence among the public under the stewardship of former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when Malaysia faced an economic crisis in 1997. 

   They were also among those who persuaded Umno members who followed Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for a newly-formed party, Semangat 46 (S46) to return to Umno  following the political crisis in  1987.

  Yusof is an example of a loyal Umno supporter who wished for harmony in Malaysia, respect for Islam, the monarchy and is staunchly against the idea mooted by some individuals who supposedly want to form a republic to replace the current form of government.

  There were less women in Jasa Johor since it was formed but I am glad that more have taken up the challenge to join our team since 2000.

  For example, Siti Zaleha Abdullah, 50, a senior private sector employee had joined our team two years ago, and is  the Skudai state constituency Jasa officer.

  She has been the chairman of Jasa’s Gelang Patah women committee.  Without them, women welfare issues may not be fully addressed.  I am delighted to see family members of Jasa officers and KPKK employees  from various races joining us for the department’s recent Hari Raya gathering at Johor Golf and Country Club.  I wish for all Malaysians to foster better understanding through common ground instead of being diverted due to differences.

It is also not worth the risk to put our country’s national, political, and economic stability at stake just for the sake of change.

SOURCE: NST, STREETS JOHOR, SEPT 24, 2012

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