Provide inclusive approach on reopening of churches, urges DNC

Paul Raja

KUCHING, June 19: Dayak National Congress (DNC) today urges the State Management Disaster Committee (SDMC) to provide a comprehensive approach regarding the reopening of the houses of worship in Sarawak as there are many which are not registered with the Missionaries Societies Ordinance, 1967 (MSO 1967).

DNC president Paul Raja said the permission for the opening of these houses of worship, according to the announcement issued on June 15 by SDMC, was only for churches registered under the Missionaries Societies Ordinance, 1967 (MSO 1967).

“There are, perhaps, only a few mainstream churches registered under the MSO 1967.

“There are many other independent churches that are not registered under MSO 1867. So, the SMDC should provide a comprehensive approach instead of being selective in their approval.

“By allowing only certain churches, it may cause confusion amongst the community as there seems to be preferences towards certain groups,” Paul said in a statement issued here today.

His statement was made in reference to the recent standard operating procedures (SOP) for the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) dated June 15, 2020, issued by the (SMDC) pertaining to the opening of the religious houses of worship for Sarawak.

Paul reiterated that what was crucial is for all the houses of worship to adhere to the strict SOP to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“What is important is the compliance with the guidelines under the SOP and not the class of the religious group as it portrays discrimination. We therefore urge the SMDC to re-look into this condition,” he stressed.

Paul also suggested that such approval could also be obtained from the district or divisional levels as well, instead of SMDC which is based in Kuching.

“Those in authority must also understand that there will be rural churches which do not have access to internet to apply for permit from Kuching.

“It will be more convenient if district or divisional offices may also be allowed to grant the approval,” added Paul.—DayakDaily.