BY TANIA LAM & SARAH HAFIZAH CHANDRA
KUCHING: Elected representatives are urged to assist the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) by carefully evaluating needs before requesting for and disbursing funds to non-Islamic houses of worship.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this is to ensure that funds are disbursed equitably and should correspond to the membership numbers of the houses of worship.
“For example, some churches only have 50 to 100 people, while some have up to 5,000 or 10,000 parishioners. From here, we need you to help us so we can determine (the amount of funding to be allocated).
“If a church has only 50 members and we allocate RM3 million, then we allocate RM500,000 to another church with 10,000 members – that is not equitable,” he said.
He was speaking at a cheque presentation ceremony for Unifor Financial Assistance 2020 (Phase One) at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here today.
Uggah said another problem was that some applicants actually required RM1 million for the construction of their non-Islamic house of worship, but instead requested for RM3 million.
“There are also small groups that establish what they call a church or prayer group, but you have to make sure that they are registered with the Registrar of Societies (RoS) or under the Missionary Societies Ordinance in order for us to be able to regulate them,” said Uggah, who is also the minister in charge of Unifor.
He assured that Unifor would continue to monitor allocations and the implementation of projects it funded or assisted.