GEORGE TOWN, Sept 16 — The Penang state government has allocated a total of RM6,775,484.44 under funds for non-Islamic places of worship (RIBI) since 2016.
Penang state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo said the state has distributed the sum to temples, churches and Gurdwaras in the state through 165 applications made in the past four years.
“I am happy to announce the allocation of a total RM150,000 to three RIBI this morning, namely the Penang Lay Buddhist Association, the Sri Krishna Bagawan Alayam Temple and the Penang Christian Centre (PCC Georgetown Church),” he said at a press conference at the Wadda Gurdwara Sahib (WGS) this morning.
Each of the organisation will receive RM50,000 from the RIBI fund this year.
He said the RIBI fund, as at August this year, still has a balance of RM2,671,316.62.
“All RIBI in the state are encouraged to apply for allocations from this fund to maintain or repair their RIBI,” he said.
The housing, local government and town and country planning committee chairman said to-date, a total RM1.9 million has been allocated to all Gurdwaras in Penang.
Out of that sum, RM804,000 in total were contributions to three Punjabi Education Centres (PEC) in Penang, RM499,390 was disbursed under their RIBI fund, RM444,500 was for restoration of the historic WGS and RM130,000 for various celebrations and festivals.
“This proves the state government’s support for the Sikh community in Penang,” he said.
He said the WGS is a category one heritage building that is almost 120 years old.
He said the old building had to be restored, with works starting last year.
The restoration works is estimated to cost about RM5.5 million.
Today, Jagdeep contributed another RM50,000 from his own assemblyman allocation towards the restoration of the GWS.
“We need to fully restore this historic building for our future generations,” he said.