GEORGE TOWN, Sept 15 — Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Jagdeep Singh Deo today set up a Unity Affairs Unit under his office to engage and resolve issues facing the various communities and civil society organisations in the state.

He said the special unit is in line with his aim of being a deputy chief minister II for all races and religions, and plans to engage with the local community groups and organisations for better collaboration and cooperation.

“This platform is open to all organisations of all ethnicities and religions for us to get input from them and to assist in any issues and problems that arise,” he said in a press conference attended by representatives from various organisations here.

The representatives who attended included those from the Penang Malay Association (Pemenang), Penang Muslim League, Penang Hindu Association, Penang Eurasian Association and the Penang Sikh Association.

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“This is the beginning. We will move towards bi-weekly or monthly meetings to listen to the issues faced by these organisations and to help them resolve the issues.

“My office has contacts of all the government agencies and departments so we will be able to assist, I want to be able to help all communities, regardless of race or religion,” Jagdeep said.

He said the Unity Affairs Unit will also address housing issues to local government services and education that are outstanding.

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“I need input from these organisations so that I know what needs to be done and I will channel all these concerns to the right avenues,” he said.

Pemenang president Tan Sri Yussof Latiff, who was also present in the same press conference, welcomed the setting up of the platform.

“As someone who’s involved in 20 organisations under the muhibbah council, I fully support the setting up of this unit as it would benefit the people,” he said.

Also present was Penang Sikh Association secretary Datuk Malkit Singh who it was about time the state established a unity unit considering the number of attempts to divide Malaysians, whether along ethnic or religious lines.

“We need a platform like this to unite the people, this is a good effort to bring people together,” he said.

The Penang Eurasian Association president Datuk Aloysius Gasper said the platform is especially important for minorities like his.

“It will be beneficial for the community,” he said.