Sarawak ‘walks the talk’ on religious freedom

Abang Johari speaks at the state-level Malaysia Day celebration.

KUCHING: Despite the controversy surrounding the freedom of religion of late propagated by various quarters, Sarawak continues to lead the way in championing and demonstrating religious freedom.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the state government will not entertain elements that contradict the guarantee of religious freedom.

Stressing that freedom of religion is enshrined under the Federal Constitution, he said under his administration, initiatives are also implemented to assist non-Muslim religions in the state.

“In guaranteeing these rights, Sarawak under the administration of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government is taking it one step ahead.

“This is with the implementation of initiatives under the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) which has extended considerable assistance to non-Muslim religions,” he said when speaking at the state-level Malaysia Day celebration tonight at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex.

Abang Johari said since the establishment of Unifor, the state government has contributed RM165 million for the construction of non-Muslim houses of worship.

“This does not include RM15 million for the management and operations of missionary schools, RM70 million for the Unifor headquarters complex at Jalan Ong Tiang Swee and RM5 million this year for the management of houses of worship affected by Covid-19.

“GPS not only rejects elements that contradict the guarantee of religious freedom in recent times but continues to ensure that the welfare of other religions is always preserved. We walk the talk,” he said.

At the same time, Abang Johari expressed hope that Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak will strengthen their commitment to ensure that the country remains stable and developed.

“As head of the GPS government, I would like to assure you that the Sarawak government will continue to work to restore any eroded Sarawak rights through negotiations with the federal government.

“I thank the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob who continues to show the federal government’s concern for the aspirations of the people in Sarawak,” he said.