Having a ‘magnificent’ building is no sin, Unifor tells PSB Youth

An artiste impression of the soon-to-be-constructed Unifor Complex.

KUCHING, Aug 8: Having a ‘magnificent’ complex is not a sin and will not divert Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) from continuing with its objectives in helping through physical development of different houses of worship in Sarawak.

Unifor director Richard Lon emphasised this in responding to criticisms from Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) Youth questioning the state government’s rationale for allocating RM70 million for the construction of a soon-to-be-constructed new Unifor Complex.

“The party in decrying the need for it to have its own place is a misjudged calculation and an exercise in nit-picking.

“Unifor finds it very disheartening that the government’s noble intention has been misinterpreted for obvious political advantage,” he said in a statement today.

Lon also found PSB Youth’s suggestion for Unifor to operate from the Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas’s office mind-boggling as Uggah also oversees the state agriculture modernisation transformation in addition to handling native land and regional development affairs.

When Sarawak government gave a 1.2 hectare land for the Complex and approved RM70 million grant to finance the construction, he emphasised that it speaks volume of the significance and recognition for Unifor, its roles towards solidifying religious and racial harmony and unity in Sarawak.

“Such recognition is earned, not given,” he said.

With this complex, he added that Unifor and Unifor Charitable Trust will have more and brighter options to be financially stable as they cannot expect the state government to continue being a ‘Santa Claus’ in giving financial hand-outs all the time.

“We have to be self sustaining to be relevant and equal to the tasks expected,” he said.

Currently, Unifor does not have its own place and it is operating from a rented shoplot.

Since its inception in 2017 to date, Lon revealed that the state government has generously allocated a total of RM115 million to Unifor which has allowed it to successfully undertake 520 infrastructural projects statewide.

“They exclude those for this year which are still undergoing evaluation before grant approvals are given.

“We are glad to note that we have put roofs in many roofless churches, temples or chapels. We have built the walls and all where bare foundations once stood. We allowed more faithfuls to congregate and pray in much conducive halls. We have fulfilled many dreams in cities, smaller towns, longhouses and settlements that are far and deep in the interiors,” he stressed.

For Unifor to have its own place, Lon emphasised, was a dream comes true and for the matter, any organisation worth its salt.—DayakDaily