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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Jan 23: Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) under the Chief Minister’s Department has moved beyond its name and is currently a recognised and much-appreciated platform.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas observed that the unit had done its part very well in cementing inter-religious harmony and unity in the state.
“The state government’s financial allocation of RM15 million in 2017, RM20 million in 2018, RM30 million last year and RM50 million this year speaks volumes of its appreciation and support,” said Uggah during a dinner to appreciate the contributions by Unifor’s pioneer director Datuk Dr Ngenang Janggu last night. He had handed over his duties to Richard Lon, 50, at the start of the new year.
Uggah said that in addition to those grants, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had also given direct grants to assist as well.
“In fact, in the last three years, definitely more than RM60 million worth of assistance to more than 500 projects had been given to many of our non-Muslim religious groups,” he observed.
Meanwhile, a committee under the chairmanship of Assistant Minister of Local Government Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil had been formed to come up with the planning for Unifor’s headquarters on a three-acre site at Ong Tiang Swee Road.
“We will meet sometime after the Chinese New Year celebration for further discussion. We hope to launch the construction of the building soon,” Uggah said.
Uggah noted that when Unifor was first mooted by the late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, it had been a challenge to shape its direction as there was no other similar organisation in the country to model it after.
“Some skeptics predicted that it would remain just a name to please the non-Muslim groups and would not progress beyond its name.
“But today, it is an effective platform where the non-Muslim groups can air their views, fears and worries or concerns with a view to finding amicable solutions,” said Uggah, who also explained that the organisation served as a bridge between the non-Muslim and Muslim groups in Sarawak to foster greater understanding, tolerance and peace.
He pointed out that Unifor was now a role model towards preserving religious and racial harmony and unity in the nation.
“It will not adopt confrontation in solving problem and issues arising but will bring them to the table to be discussed and solved for the benefits of everyone.
“Thus, I urge and hope whenever there are controversies, issues or fear by the non-Muslim groups, please bring them up to Unifor.” —DayakDaily