KUCHING, July 18: The Sarawak government has set in motion several initiatives to enhance religious freedom in the state, including allocating RM32.3 million for Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) for this year.
Deputy Minister I Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas told the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) today that in the first five months of this year, RM15.87 million had been disbursed to 206 houses of worship. The rest of the allocation would be disbursed in the coming months.
In addition, the state government had approved three acres of state land off Jalan Ong Tiang Swee for the building of a Unifor complex.
In his winding-up speech, he said the Sarawak Unit for Other Religions Charitable Trust was set up on March 29 this year to look after the well-being of the non-Islamic community in the state.
“We are also forming the Unifor Religious Advisory Committee … it is being finalised. The main function of this committee is to give advice and recommend solutions to the government on any religious problems, issues or conflicts in the state.
“This committee will comprise leaders from non-Islamic religious groups and retired archbishops and bishops of the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Methodist Churches,” he said.
Uggah said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had also announced last year of an annual allocation to assist non-Islamic religious institutions in the state to construct and repair their houses of worship.
Last year alone, RM15 million was approved for the construction and repair of 77 houses of worship, he pointed out. — DayakDaily