KUCHING: The Sarawak government has approved an allocation of RM30 million for the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) for next year.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who announced this, said the allocation was approved by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to assist religions other than Islam in the state to construct and repair houses of worship.
“The Chief Minister has approved RM30 million for Unifor, an increase of RM10 from RM20 million in 2018. In 2017, the allocation was RM15 million,” he said at the blessing ceremony of Unifor’s new office at Wisma Satok here yesterday.
Uggah, who is the minister in charge of Unifor, expressed optimism that once Sarawak imposes its five per cent sales tax on petroleum products next year, a bigger grant may also be allocated for the unit.
“After the imposition of the sales tax on petroleum products, maybe we can ask for RM50-million allocation in the year 2020,” he remarked.
Uggah, alongside Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Assistant Minister of Native Land Development Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn, Assistant Minister of Local Government Datu Dr Penguang Manggil and Assistant Minister of Water Supply Datuk Liwan Lagang, attended the blessing ceremony of the new office which was conducted by Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Archdiocese Most Reverend Simon Poh.
He said Unifor moved to its new office located at Level 4, Wisma Satok earlier this month on a temporary basis of three years tenure.
“The state government has given us a three-acre land at Jalan Ong Tiang Swee for the construction of Unifor Complex. We hope that once this lease ends, Unifor can move to its new building.”
Meanwhile, Unifor director Datu Dr Ngenang Janggu said Unifor officially moved in to its new office on Nov 1.
“The unit will have 32 staff but at the moment we currently have 20 staff while 12 vacancies are in the process of being recruited.”
Prior to the relocation, Unifor shared office with the Ministry of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development at Masja Building.