By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, June 16: The Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) in Sg Asap, Belaga today thanked the Sarawak government for providing RM10 million to build their church at Sg Asap which is expected to be completed by early next year.
BEM Sg Asap chairman Rev Tram Epoi said that work on the church project started last year.
“We thank the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government under our beloved Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for his generosity,” Pastor Tram told DayakDaily when contacted today.
The project which began last year was expected to be completed by November this year but it has been delayed due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“But we are confident that the church project could be completed by early next year as works have resumed under Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO),” he said.
Upon its completion, the church will be able to accommodate over 2,000 worshippers at any one time.
After the church’s completion, Rev Tram, who sits on BEM Sarawak General Council, hopes to acquire a piece of land for the building of Malaysia Evangelical Theological Seminary (METS) Belaga to replace the current METS Belaga in BEM Belaga Town.
“We expect to start by the middle of 2021. The cost for the next development for METS Belaga will be RM20 million,” he said.
Rev Tram disclosed that the proposed METS Sg Asap could accommodate up to 200 students up to degree level.
“It’s our hope is that by 2022, we will have a METS in order to cater for the growing needs for better-trained pastors and lay leaders,” he said, adding that currently, METS Belaga can only train a limited number of students.
Meanwhile, Belaga Assemblyman cum Assistant Minister of Utilities (Rural Electricity Supplies) Datuk Liwan Lagang said that the RM10 million allocation showed that the GPS state government cares for the needs of people in Sarawak regardless of their race and religion.
“Through Unifor (Unit for Other Religion), all other religions besides Islam, be it temples and churches, and from the various denominations will be assisted by the GPS government,” he said.
Liwan, who is also a member of Unifor Board of Trustees, however, advised those who had yet to receive the allocation from Unifor to be patient as allocations were based on the availability of funds and on a priority basis. —DayakDaily.