SIBU: The diverse cultural make-up of Sarawak is fully reflected by the state government by the setting-up of the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), says State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion.
He said the setting-up of a government agency to look after the needs of non-Muslims was unique to Sarawak with it being a focal point for the various religious bodies to liaise and interact with state and federal agencies.
“From this unit, we are able to voice out pertinent issues on the need to evaluate, propose and formulate policies, laws and regulations with regard to non-Islamic religious affairs.
“Unifor acts as a focal point for the various religious bodies to liaise and interact with state and federal agencies in the matter of applications for land and funding for the construction of house of worship.
“It has also expanded into socioeconomic activities where Unifor services may also be needed for such purposes,” he said when officiating the ‘Unity Among Religions’ programme here on Tuesday (Sept 15).
Jaul said with the establishment of the Unifor Charitable Trust, it is hoped that the unit could contribute more and provide opportunities to fulfil the needs and welfare of other religions in the state.
He added that the state government had pledged to assist Unifor by giving out more grants as more applications were received from various houses of worship every year.
“In 2017, the state government allocated RM15mil to Unifor for the purpose of constructing, repairing and upgrading houses of worship.
“The amount increased in 2018 to RM20mil, 2019 to RM30mil and this year to RM50mil. It shows the state government’s commitment to assist other religions.”