Putrajaya to allow SDMC to decide on opening of houses of worship

Uggah speaking during the press conference.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 29: The State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) was puzzled by Putrajaya’s decision to allow only three churches of not significant membership to open on June 10.

These three churches are all in Bintulu, and they are Hope Bintulu, International Full Gospel Fellowship (IFGF) Bintulu Sarawak and IFGF Sungai Plan.

SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas when asked by the media today, said he was as puzzled as anyone as the memberships of the three churches were not of significant sizes.

“I was quite surprised Kuala Lumpur picked the three (churches) and doesn’t come out with a list,” said Uggah.

To clarify, Uggah who is also Deputy Chief Minister communicated with Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof today where an understanding was reached that SDMC would decide when to allow houses of worship to open and the related standard operating procedure (SOP) as

“The committee had directed a task force to work out what are the activities which we can open after this.

“We have opened quite a lot of activities but many are still prohibited (to carry out). For example, some of the parks cannot be opened; some activities cannot be carried out and the churches are still practicing online prayers,” said Uggah in a press conference to update on Covid-19 today.

He said that after meeting with Fadillah, it was decided that SDMC would decide whether an activity can be opened as Sarawak is moving towards the end of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

“As for the church also, SDMC will decide how and the SOP to be followed by them. We decide not only the churches but the temples,” said Uggah.

The National Unity Ministry yesterday had approved 174 non-Islamic religious houses of worship in the green zone to reopen on June 10 and named the aforementioned three churches.

It asserted that houses of worship which were approved must adhere to the standard operating procedure (SOP) which has been laid out by the ministry following a special Cabinet meeting on May 21.

Those include limiting the number of worshippers to a maximum of 30 people in accordance with the size of the worship hall.—DayakDaily