By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Dec 13: The state government today disbursed another RM560,000 for the construction and repair of five houses of worships in three constituencies.
The money, channelled through Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) under the Chief Minister’s Department, forms part of the RM20 million allocation for this year to support 231 projects that will benefit non-Muslim religious institutions.
Of the amount disbursed today, RM100,000 was for the building of a Hindu temple in Nangka state constituency in Sibu.
Another RM120,000 was given to the Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM) for the building of a new church building and playschool at Kampung Malinau, Mulu National Park. BEM also received RM40,000 for the repair and upgrade of its church at Kampung Long Selaan, Ulu Baram. Both are in Mulu constituency.
The remaining RM300,000 went to the Tanjong Datu constituency, where RM150,000 each was allocated for (1) the repairs and upgrade of St Stephen Church, Kampung Rayu Iban in Lundu and (2) the renovation and repairs of Lundu Methodist Evangelical Centre.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas presented the cheques to the respective elected representatives Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu (Tanjong Datu) and Datuk Gerawat Gala (Mulu) at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
Nangka assemblyman Dr Annuar Rapaee (Nangka) could not make it to the event.
“The state government has set aside funds for this purpose as there are many houses of worship in need of assistance to repair, upgrade and extend buildings as well as for the acquisition of land.
“At the same time, Unifor will closely monitor the work progress of the projects and construction,” Uggah, who is also the minister-in-charge of the unit, said at the ceremony.
Unifor director Datuk Dr Ngenang Janggu and Deputy State Secretary (Rural Transformation) Datu Jaul Samion were also present at the third phase of cheque presentation for the year.
“Besides providing funding assistance, Unifor also helps to coordinate and facilitate siting applications for houses of worships. All siting applications are to be submitted to Unifor, who will forward them to the relevant authorities for action,” said Uggah.
He advised the respective project or religious committees to make sure the approved allocations were used wisely.
Unifor also needs assistance from the elected representatives to help monitor projects in their constituencies to ensure smooth implementation, he added.
Last year, the state government approved RM15 million under the initiative, benefiting 77 projects across the state.
As for 2019, the state has approved RM30 million to continue assisting the construction and repair of houses of worship. — DayakDaily