An artist impression of the Belaga Mosque

BELAGA: Local Muslims will soon have a new mosque which will be a landmark for this rural town.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony of the mosque here today.

“Sarawak is a peaceful state and today we are able to build a mosque as per the request of local assemblyman Datuk Liwan Lagang. He said to me that after we finished building a church in Belaga, we must also build a mosque.

“Only in Sarawak can we find a non-Muslim elected representative asking to build a mosque and only here can we find a Muslim requesting for the construction of a church. This is our way of life in Sarawak,” he said.

Liwan, who was also present during the ceremony, said the state government has been fair to all religions as it had assisted in the construction of religious houses.

“Before this, they assisted in developing the BEM church which cost RM10 million; now they are building the Belaga Mosque which also costs RM10 million.

“This is the administrative style of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) under the chief minister. Only Sarawak has such a body as the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor).

“The funds to build houses of worship in Belaga alone stands at RM2.9 million and this does not include the Murum constituency as well as the rural transformation programme (RTP) funds and minor rural project (MRP) funds,” he said.

Liwan, who is Utilities Assistant Minister (rural electricity), said the new mosque will be a landmark as well as a reflection of the unity of the people here.

“We also thank those involved in the planning of the mosque whose construction has started; also Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) for allowing a portion of its land to be used for building the mosque,” he said.