KUCHING, July 5: Sarawak’s Unit for Other Religions, or Unifor, has set up a charitable trust to support its socio-economic programme.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas expressed hope it would be able to raise fund to support the programme, which has started to help students from needy families.
“We are looking at poverty eradication, education and other initiatives to support the many other religions in the state.
“Now Unifor is only helping religious organisations in the construction or repairs of their respective houses of worship,” Uggah, who is the minister-in-charge of Unifor said at the Anglican Church “Gempuru Besai” or grand gathering at the Association of Churches Sarawak centre here yesterday evening.
He added that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who has been very supportive of Unifor, agreed to the setting up of the charitable trust.
This proved that he is the chief minister of all races in the state, irrespective of religion, place of origin or social background, Uggah said.
He also mentioned that Unifor, which was set up in May 2017, is open to feedback on its performance thus far.
“It is still quite young, only two years, but it has been serving many churches, chapels and temples and the feedback will allow it to improve itself.”
Uggah said Unifor, when first set up, was given a fund of RM15 million and had assisted 77 houses of worship. Last year, with a budget of RM30 million, some 235 had benefited.
“For this year, a total of 109 projects costing RM19 million have been recommended for approval.
“This is inclusive of 24 projects for the Anglican Church, costing RM6.28 million and 30 for the Roman Catholic Church costing RM4 million,” he continued.
Uggah added that in February this year, Abang Jo approved a grant of RM7 million for the St Thomas’s Cathedral Church House of Epiphany redevelopment project here.
“We hope Unifor will continue to be of service,” he said.
On other matters, he revealed that Unifor was in the mist of planning for the construction of its own building on a 1.214 hectare site in the city area.
Uggah, is also the Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Minister, advised Anglicans and other Christians across the state to help promote or go into modern agriculture in rural areas.
His ministry was ready to introduce the fertigation system of modern farming to those interested.
“The Anglican Church has about 150,000 members statewide. This is a big number and a big market,” he said.
At the dinner, Uggah announced a grant of RM100,000 to the St Thomas’ Cathedral here to organise its youth programme next year.
Unifor director Datu Dr Ngenang Janggu, Bishop of the Anglican Church in Sabah, the Right Reverend Datuk Melter Jiki Tais, and his Sarawak and Brunei counterpart the Right Reverend Danald Jute, as well as event organising chairman Archdeacon Jose Jol of the St Basil’s Church, were present. — DayakDaily