KUCHING, Sept 5 — The Sarawak government has disbursed more than RM200 million in grants to non-Muslim bodies and houses of worships through its Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), says Deputy Premier Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.

He said consistent grant assistance through Unifor is part of the government’s efforts to look after the interest of all Sarawakians irrespective of race and religion.

“Last year, the government also allocated RM5 million Covid-19 operational expenses to help non-Muslim houses of worships such as temples and churches and this year another RM5 million has been allocated for the same purpose,” he told reporters after officiating foundation work commencement ceremony for San Seng Tong Centre for Buddhism Culture and Education here yesterday.

The Public Health, Housing and Local Government Minister pointed out that Unifor serves as a charitable trust to enable non-Muslim bodies to run their activities.

“Unifor does not belong to the government. It belongs to all other religions.

“This charitable trust was set up with the view that in the future, non-Muslim bodies and houses of worship will have funds to run their own activities,” he stated.

On San Seng Tong Centre for Buddhism Culture and Education, Dr Sim said the project costing around RM10 million is expected to be completed by 2024.

“This morning, we have Lee Onn Group donating RM1.5 million and the late philanthropist Chai Tze Khin and his wife who donated RM800,000 to the centre’s construction funds,” he added.

The Centre for Buddhism Culture and Education project is an expansion of San Seng Tong Temple. It will have a main shrine, kindergarten, youth centre, meditation room, bedrooms, and multi-purpose hall for various activities and cultivate future leaders of Buddhism.

Among those present were a political secretary to the Premier Tan Kai, Kuching South mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng, Unifor representative Ambrose Linang, San Seng Tong Buddhist Association chairperson Datin Amar Lim Su Kheng, and Lee Onn Group managing director Datuk Tan Guek Kee. — Borneo Post Online