MIRI: The State government through the Unit for Other Religions (UNIFOR) under the Sarawak Premier’s Department for the last five years has channelled a total of RM255 million in grants to help all non-Islamic religions to build or upgrade their houses of worship.
Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg disclosed that for next year, RM100million has been approved to cope up with the ever-increasing requests from all over the state.
“This very kind gesture from the government only happens in Sarawak. This is a testimony that the state government is committed to its policy of inclusivity,” he said on Saturday night during the launching of Miri City Council Christmas parade 2022 at Miri City Fan.
Abang Johari’s text of speech was read by his deputy, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas whom representing him at the launching.
He added, Sarawak is very lucky in the sense that it is quite shielded from religious extremism and divisive issues that happened in other parts of the country.
“Let us all continue to keep this up. Tonight, as we all witness, this very grand evening proves that the Christian community can come together for the common and greater good,” he said.
“In Sarawak, we have this proud standing record where religion has never been an issue among our multi- racial and multi- religious society.
“Whether we are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu, Taoist, Sikh or other faith, we have always upheld, enhanced and strengthened the existing warm ties, mutual respect and the spirit of brotherhood among us.
“We may at times differ in opinion, and perception which is only natural but we continue to remain very harmonious and united,” he pointed out.
Despites the heavy rain, it did not dampen the spirit of more than 40,000 Christians from 17 churches for the start of the 13th edition of the parade.
This year, the event was headed by the Roman Catholic church.
Other participating churches are Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM); Anglican Church, Methodist Church, Calvary Charismatic Centre, New Creation Church, Christ the Livingstone, Seventh Day Adventist, Full Gospel Assembly, Miri Gospel Chapel, All Nations Gospel Church, Full Gospel Tabernacle, Baptist Church, Glory Place, Open Heaven Tabernacle, Miri Latter Rain Church and Cornerstone Community Church.
The parade kicked off at 7.30pm from Miri City Fan, passing through Jalan Sylvia, Jalan Brooke, Jalan Kingsway, Jalan Puchong, Jalan Padang, Jalan Melayu, Jalan Nahkhoda Gampar, Jalan Cina, Jalan Bendahara, Jalan North Yu Seng, Jalan South Yu Seng, Jalan Merpati, Jalan Kipas and back to Miri City Fan.
At the event, five none-governmental organisations (NGOs) received RM5,000 each from the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS).
These NGOs were Kinosis Sarawak Drug Rehab, Prison Fellowhsip Ministry (Miri), Persatuan Pendidikan Inspirasi Miri, and Miri Ability Service Association.
Also present at the event were Member of Parliament (MP) for Sibuti Lukanisman Awang Sauni, Miri MP Chiew Choon Man, Minister of Transport Sarawak Datuk Sri Lee Kim Shin, Deputy Minister for Local Government Datuk Dr Penguang Mangil, Deputy Minister in the Premier’s Department Datuk Gerawat Gala, Pujut assemblyman cim Miri Mayor Adam Yii Siew Sang and Bishop Richard Ng cum the event co-organising chairman.
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