Monday, December 9

‘Religious issues cut no ice in the state’

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HELPING OUT: Uggah presenting the mock cheque for RM400,000 to Nelson Sinken (right). Also seen are (from second left) Nelson Ugas, Yong and Sih (third right).

KUCHING: Exploitation of religious issues will not make any headway in the state during the general election because its multi-racial community has always lived in religious harmony, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Dato Sri Douglas Uggah Embas.

“The opposition tried to exploit religious issues in the 2011 state election. As you can see, the impact on the rural population was minimal for the obvious reasons that the people in rural Sarawak feel that they are living in religious harmony.

“We accept that there are problems but we adopt a policy of discussion. With that type of discussions, religious issues will not jeopardise the unity of this country,” he told reporters after presenting a RM400,000 mock-cheque to All Saints’ Church (ASC) at Tabuan here yesterday.

Also present were Deputy Works Minister Datuk Yong Khoon Seng, Reverend Nelson Sinken – the priest in charge of ASC, venerable canon Reverend Nelson Ugas and SUPP Batu Lintang chairman Sih Hua Tong.

Uggah, who is also a member of the special Cabinet Committee on Sabah-Sarawak, pointed out that the federal aid was approved about a month before the dissolution of the Parliament on April 4.

He said in the past three years, about RM5 million in aid had been approved by the government for 12 churches throughout the state including St Thomas Cathedral which received RM2 million.

ASC is expanding its main congregation hall and other facilities and the project, estimated at RM300,000, is scheduled to be completed by Christmas this year.

The RM300,000 does not include budget for a car park and other surrounding amenities. Upon completion, the church will increase its capacity to about 1,000 from its current capacity of 200.

ASC serves the people of Tabuan Dayak, Tabuan, Jalan Song and Stutong.