SIBU, Sept 15 — Malaysia Day is very important to Sarawak as it brings a significant meaning to the multiracial community in the state, said State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion.
He said Sarawak is a model state with a high degree of tolerance, acceptance and mutual respect among the people of different religious beliefs.
Speaking at an Inter-Faith Unity Programme in conjunction with Malaysia Day celebration here today, he pointed out that Sarawak is the only state to have a unit called Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), which operates as a government agency looking after the needs of non-Muslims.
Through the unit, which reflects Sarawak’s priorities on inclusivity and diversity, the people are able to voice out issues pertinent to the evaluation and formulation of policies, laws and regulations on non-Islamic religious affairs.
Jaul said Unifor acted as a focal point for the various religious bodies to liaise and interact with the state and federal government agencies in the matter of applications for land and funding for the construction of houses of worships, and it had expanded into socio-economic activities where its services may be needed for such purposes.
“Sarawak is blessed to have Unifor for taking care of the well-being of the non-Muslim religious bodies in the state that include Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism, Baha’i and Taoism,” he said.
He said the state government had increased the allocation to Unifor for constructing, repairing and upgrading houses of worship from RM15 million in 2017 to RM20 million in 2018, RM30 million in 2019 and RM50 million in 2020.
“The state government has also allocated a 1.21-hectare land at Jalan Ong Tiang Swee in Kuching for the construction of Unifor complex, which will be the permanent office for the unit,” he said. — Bernama