Interfaith dinner to celebrate TYT’s birthday

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KUCHING: Various houses of worship came together for the first time to have a fellowship dinner to celebrate the 84th birthday of Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud last Saturday.

The Interfaith Fellowship Dinner was officiated by Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian at Pullman Hotel.

Dr Sim who is the minister-in-charge for the Head of State’s birthday celebration, said that it is not just a dinner to celebrate the Head of State’s birthday but to also celebrate the multiracial society in Sarawak.

“Even though this is the first time such a dinner is being held, I hope there will be thanksgiving ceremonies like this every year,” he said.

He explained that Sarawak has a high degree of religious tolerance, acceptance, and mutual respect amongst the people of different religious beliefs.

Dr Sim speaking at the Interfaith Fellowship Dinner.

“Our people choose to unite and build a prosperous and strong Sarawak in 2023 to 2025.

“Whereas in other parts of the country, there are those who choose to divide, quarrel and create hatred among each other,” he told.

Hence, Sarawakians are urged not to fall into the traps of extremists, who are jealous of the state’s unity and wants to divide the people.

Dr Sim added that Sarawak will not welcome people like these and will not let them pijak (step) on Sarawak’s people.

On the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), he explained that the unit can expect its funding to increase as Sarawak is heading towards becoming a prosperous and strong state soon.

“This year, we are going to have the Unifor Charitable Trust and the Unifor Complex — a RM70 million building that acts as a symbol of unity and soon, the chief minister will perform a ground breaking ceremony for the building.

“The Unifor Charitable Trust is just like Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak, where it will support the socio-economic activities and welfare of the non-Muslims living in Sarawak.

“Unifor Charitable Trust would also generate its own income to help all other religions in welfare matters,” he said, adding that this is what Sarawak government do for other religions because the government values religious tolerance and respect among each other.

Poh (left) offering a prayer with other representatives of houses of worships on stage during the Interfaith Fellowship Dinner.

On the Covid-19 situation, Dr Sim stated that it (the virus) will be here for a while and there is no quick fix to it.

The public needs to prepare themselves with the new norms and work together to curb the transmission of this virus like what has been done previously.

He further pointed out that the houses of worships play a quicker and active role in reminding their congregation to adhere with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and practice the new norms.

Also present at the dinner were Assistant Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn; Unifor director Richard Lon; Kuching Roman Catholic Archbishop Simon Poh; Sarawak Sikh Temple Association president Dr Kalwinder Singh Khaira; Malaysia Buddhist Association (MBA) Sarawak branch chairman Datuk Seri Dr Tay Chin Kin; and Bishop of Anglican Church in Sarawak and Brunei the Right Reverend Datuk Danald Jute.

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