Unifor and Unifor Charitable Trust different entities, with diverse agendas

Richard Lon (photo by TVS)

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KUCHING, Nov 30: The Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) and the Sarawak Unit For Other Religions Charitable Trust are two different entities, serving different agendas and objectives.

The Director of Unifor Richard Lon said today there seems to be some confusion over their roles.

He said this in response to the media statement made by Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian who had today questioned Unifor roles in owning shares in five quarries and one timber company.

According to Richard, Unifor was set up on 27 April, 2017 under the Chief Minister’s Department (now known as the Department of the Premier of Sarawak).

Since its inception, the Sarawak Government has given Unifor a total of RM255 million in grants.

“These were to assist in the repair, upgrading and building of houses of worship and mission schools.

“Next year, YAB Premier has even increased the annual grant to RM100 million,” said Richard in a press statement today.

On the other hand, Richard said the Sarawak Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) Charitable Trust was set up in 2018 under the Charitable Trust Ordinance, 1994.

“The declaration is cited as the Sarawak Unit  For Other Religions Charitable Trust Dec., 2018 which came into force on 29 March, 2018 as found in the Sarawak Government Gazette Part 11( Vol. LXXII , NO. 29 dated 25 April,  2018).”

He said under this declaration, the Unifor Charitable Trust “is allowed to hold properties as described in the First Schedule and the properties are to be administered by a Board of Trustees appointed under Section 4 of the Charitable Trusts Ordinance, 1994 (Cap.7)”.

“It too is allowed to carry out any activities, particularly the development of commercial and industrial enterprises which appears to the Board of Trustees to be requisite, advantageously or beneficial for the well-being of the non-Muslim community in the State as described in part(e) of the Second Schedule.”

Richard added that Unifor Charitable Trust does not acquire any shares from quarries or timber companies.

“Instead the State is granting those shares to be held by the Charitable Trust which will be a sustainable income for the benefit of any non-Muslim community of Sarawak origin or any religion, educational, training or research institutions for the non-Muslima in the State whom the Board of Trustees may determine and decide to be awarded the necessary benefits (Paragraph 2(c) of the Declaration),” said Richard. — DayakDaily