Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (inside excavator) performs the earth-breaking while other dignitaries look on. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: The construction of the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) Complex is a symbol of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government’s inclusivity and steadfast philosophy that religion is a pillar in the people’s way of life.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said due to this common philosophy shared by him and members of the Sarawak Cabinet, emphasis was placed on taking care of religions other than Islam as well.

“We thus established Unifor here so that there is a place for religious leaders to gather and discuss non-Islamic religions and our way of life,” he said when officiating at the earth-breaking ceremony of the Unifor Complex along Ong Tiang Swee Road here on Tuesday (Oct 20).

He said that the RM70mil construction cost of the Unifor Complex would not be a problem as this was just a small portion of the approximately RM3bil State Sales Tax (SST) amount paid by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) recently.

On another matter, he said that by having religious beliefs, one would then have discipline and rational thinking in facing life’s challenges.

He also noted that one common aspect among the various religions was that one must have good character and serve God.

“Therefore, the existence of a government is to encourage people to have that discipline among themselves and to serve the country, and above all to serve God.”

Abang Johari said that the Unifor Complex symbolised Sarawak’s unity and religious harmony, and that the state held onto their religious beliefs and were disciplined citizens.

He added that this discipline would allow the people to have structure in terms of what they wanted to deliver to the state.

He also said if one did not have strong beliefs and faith, they would be easily influenced by social media.

“This has happened in other countries where the belief in religion seem to have been lost. But it diverts from the core of civilisation, the core of humanity, and the core of mankind.”

In addition, he emphasised that God would help those who were sincere. “Sarawakians are sincere and they want to protect the state and live in harmony – and God, of course, helps us.”

At the same time, Abang Johari said that leaders in West Malaysia were keen to understand how Unifor worked and how Sarawak managed its harmonious multi-religious society, to the extent that they wished to bring the matter up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.