KUCHING: Sarawak’s non-Islamic affairs unit, the agency that will regulate policies to promote religious harmony, has been officially named Unit for Other Religion.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said the name was approved by the state cabinet at its full meeting yesterday.
Uggah, who is also the minister in charge of the 17-member unit whose status is equivalent with other units in the chief minister’s department, said currently the various positions in Unifor are being filled.
“We got quite a number (filled) already,” he told reporters after attending the annual National Day prayer service at the Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre in Kuching.
Uggah said applications for funds and land for the building of new churches or temples or their repair are currently the dominant issues for Unifor.
“Unifor will be a platform for non-Muslims to air their grievances, whatever religious issues they are facing.”
He gave the promise that Unifor will bring all the issues raised to the attention of both the state and federal governments.
The unit is reportedly the brainchild of former chief minister Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem who died of heart complications in February.
The deputy chief minister also said the non-Muslim leaders in Unifor are concerned by religious developments in the peninsula which they believe could undermine religious tolerance in the state.
To pass these concerns to the federal cabinet’s attention, Uggah said he will meet Tan Sri Joseph Kurup, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of National Unity, “in a week or two” to convey their concerns.
Uggah would not say what the concerns are but hinted the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act that was recently passed by parliament and was supposed to tackle the issue on the unilateral conversion of children by any one parent, was one of them.
“We will therefore be presenting our views to Putrajaya,” he said. – dayakdaily.com