Disbursement of Unifor funds to churches not vote-buying tactic — Uggah

Uggah (right) taking a closer look at agricultural products on display at the function.

By William Isau

SIBU, Dec 13: Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) was not helping Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to buy votes when it disbursed RM1 million to 41 Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) churches in Lawas and Trusan last week.

Minister-in-charge of Unifor Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this to refute a statement by Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) candidate for N81 Ba’Kelalan, Baru Bian.

Bian claimed that GPS in giving out the funds during this election period was tantamount to buying votes from members of the churches.

Speaking at the launching of the AgriCOP programme for farmers in the Bawang Assan constituency today, Douglas strongly asserted that it was not an act of vote-buying as Unifor has been distributing funds to churches and temples since 2017 and the distribution of RM1 million to the 41 churches is not a form of corruption .

Baru had said that there is nothing wrong in receiving government funding, but the timing of the disbursement is questionable and raises many red flags. He claimed there are over 800 BEM churches in Sarawak, but only those in Lawas and Trusan have been given funds in the week before the election.

According to Uggah, Unifor which was set up in 2016 started to give out funds a year later and to-date it had given out RM160 million.

“PSB said it is a form of corruption. This is not (corruption) as Unifor had given out RM160 million since 2017. The chief minister is helping the rakyat regardless of their race and religion,” he said.

Meanwhile Uggah called on voters in N53 Bawang Assan to give their votes to GPS candidate, Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew.

“You had in previous elections supported Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh as he was then with the Barisan Nasional. Things have changed now as Robert Lau is now our candidate. Vote for him so that the government can continue to bring development to your area,” he appealed to constituents.

Lau is in for a five-cornered fight for the seat against the incumbent Wong (PSB), Amy Lau Bik Yieng from the Democratic Action Party (DAP), Michelle Ling Shyan Mih from Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK), and independent Ricky Enteri. — DayakDaily