KUCHING, July 2 — The state government will increase the grant for the extension of Gurdwara Sahib Sikh Temple at Jalan Masjid here after taking into consideration higher cost of building materials.

Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the state government had initially allocated RM2.5 million to Sarawak Sikh Temple Association in 2019 but the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the project from being implemented.

The association’s president Dr Kalwinder Singh Khaira went to see the Premier as the allocation was insufficient to complete the project.

“He said RM3.5 million may be enough. So I have discussed with Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah who is also chairman of Unifor about the request. We will increase the grant because we want the building to be completed,” said Abang Johari at the earthbreaking ceremony for the building extension yesterday.

Abang Johari looks at building plans for the extension project. — Borneo Post pic
Abang Johari looks at building plans for the extension project. — Borneo Post pic

Earlier, in his welcoming speech, Kalwinder said the pandemic and cost increase had delayed the project though building plans which included feedback from the Premier during his previous visit were ready.

“The new building will be an iconic landmark in the city centre and tourist attraction once completed.

“The new three-storey building will be connected by bridges to the existing building on the first and second floors with a garden between the two blocks.

“There will be a floor for Punjabi school, a multipurpose hall, library, residential rooms and other amenities for the congregation and community as it is not only a place for prayers but also a community centre, school, recreational centre and meeting place,” explained Kalwinder .

On behalf of the association and community, he thanked the Premier and the state government for allocating funds and approving the adjacent land for the expansion project.

The original Gurdwara Sahib building which opened March 1, 1911 was a two-storey wooden structure. It was repaired on several occasions before demolition in 1980 to accommodate growing congregation. The present building was declared open on April 18,1982 by YB Tan Sri Ong Kee Hui, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Malaysia. — Borneo Post