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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Oct 20: The construction of the RM70 million Unit for Other Religions (UNIFOR) Complex along Jalan Ong Tiang Swee is a milestone in UNIFOR’s history
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas says Unifor deserves this magnificent complex given its role in nation building.
“This complex will later become a landmark of unity among people of various religions in this blessed land of Sarawak,” Uggah said at the Unifor Complex’s earth-breaking ceremony here today.
Uggah who has been tasked to look after Unifor, asserted that the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) and Unifor exist side by side to play their role in assisting the state government in cementing solidarity among the people.
“Unifor a unit under the Chief Minister’s office was set up in April 27, 2017. Its main function is to look after the welfare of all non-Muslim religions. It provides financial assistance for the physical development, upgrading or repairs of their churches, temples, or chapels,” he said.
He also stressed that Unifor is a platform to amicably discuss any issues arise with a view to protect the existing harmony and unity. It is Sarawak and the nation’s pride in maintaining and strengthening religious harmony and solidarity.
“When it was first formed in 2017, the state government allocated a sum of RM15 million to finance its activities. In 2018 and 2019 the amount were raised to RM20 million and RM30 million respectively. For this year, a sum of RM50 million had been set aside,” he said.
Uggah who is also Second Minister of Finance disclosed that to date, Unifor has undertaken 520 infrastructural projects throughout the state.
“Unifor has built the roof, paved the floor, put up the wall, the lights and the furnitures in formerly destitute and empty churches, temples and chapels. It has enabled the faithful to worship their Gods in better comfort. To many, it is now their beacon of hope for assistance and deliverance.
“In addition to this funding allocated directly to Unifor, the Chief Minister also approved a sum of RM40.59 million under ‘Projek Rakyat’ for similar noble causes,” he added.
He also hoped that Sarawakians would continue to give their fullest support to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg in his vision and leadership to turn Sarawak into a developed state by 2030.
“Knowing that an organisation such as Unifor would have to wait for a long time to raise enough fund to uild its own complex, Abang Jo has again shown his magnanimous side by allocating a grant of RM70 million.
“Again, on behalf of all the non-Islamic religions in the state I would like to express our profound appreciation to him for his generosity and his deep concern for us all,” added Uggah.
The 10 storey-building will have green building concept coupled with other facilities such as the two-floor meeting venues, a dining hall which can accommodate 1,000 people and commercial area.
Works on the project will start next year and it is expected to be completed by 2022.— DayakDaily