Stop pitting religious groups against each other: Uggah

Uggah flanked by Ik Pahon (left) and Robert (right) at the Unifor meeting in Kuching today.

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KUCHING, Feb 19: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, minister in charge of Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), rubbished a suggestion by a Facebook account holder that the special unit be renamed ‘Unit for Christianity’.

Expressing his disappointment that the Facebook account holder found fault with Unifor, Uggah hoped no other Sarawakians would follow suit in trying to instigate racial and religious conflict.

“He is conveniently ignoring the fact that Unifor is looking after 16 different religious groups represented in it,” Uggah said after attending the unit’s pre-strategic planning programme meeting today.

Deputy state secretary Datuk Ik Pahon, Unifor director Richard Lon and heads or senior representatives of the 16 religious groups attended the meeting.

“Even if you do not share the government’s political belief, please do not play with fire. For when the fire breaks out, it will be the people who will get burnt. Be more responsible and stop nit-picking. Let us all play our part to unite the society and give credit where credit is due,” he said.

“Sarawak is moving forward because of its racial and religious harmony and unity. It is now a model state in the country for these. Sometimes we may face issues and challenges but we need to understand each other in order to find good solution.

“We may agree to disagree on certain issues but we can always discuss and move forward. There is no need for provocation or to amplify our differences,” he reiterated.

Meanwhile, in his speech earlier, Uggah urged members to give their feedback on how Unifor could improve its services to the people.

He also said it was facing a big challenge in its fund distribution.

“We need to find a formula on how best our fund can be used as fair as possible. We have to be fair and prudent in our spending. We have our guidelines and we are also answerable to the government,” he said.

He said the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had allocated a sum of RM50 million to Unifor this year.

Uggah said Unifor was also planning to set up a council of experts to help deal with major issues that may materialise.

“We need the council to deliberate and work out solutions when there are issues or misunderstandings. If there are parties that do not understand our hopes and aspirations, we hope to convey to them we are also trying to understand their hopes and aspirations as well. This way we can continue to strength our existing harmony and unity together,” he said. —DayakDaily