KUCHING: Sarawak’s Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) will embark on social economic programme soon, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.
He thus said the unit has set up its own charitable trust for the purpose.
He said the social economic programme would enable Unifor to diversify its roles in poverty eradication, education and others in support of the various religious groups in the state.
Uggah, who is the minister in-charge of Unifor, said at present, the unit is only helping these groups in terms of construction or repairs of their respective houses of worship.
“We hope to raise fund to support our social economic programme.
“In fact, we have started the ball rolling by helping some students from needy families in their studies,” he said when officiating at ‘Gempuru Besai Gerija Anglika’ at the Association of Churches Sarawak (ACS) premises here on Thursday night.
Uggah disclosed that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who has been very supportive of Unifor, has also agreed to the setting up of this charitable trust.
He said this proved that Abang Johari is the chief minister of all races in the state, irrespective of their religion, place of origin or social background.
On a related matter, Uggah said Unifor welcomed feedbacks from the public on its performance thus far.
“Unifor is still quite young…only three years old.
“But it has been serving many churches, chapels and temples, and through feedbacks, this will allow the unit to improve itself.”
He added that when Unifor was established in 2017 and allocated a fund of RM15 million, it assisted 77 houses of worship.
“Last year, it was allocated a budget of RM30 million which benefited some 235 recipients.
“For this year, a total of 109 projects costing RM19 million have been recommended for approval.
“This is inclusive of 24 projects for the Anglican churches at a total cost of RM6.28million and 30 projects for the Roman Catholic churches costing RM4 million,” he said.
He added that Unifor is also planning to construct its own building on a 1.214 hectare site in the city.
Meanwhile, Uggah, who is also Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development urged Anglicans and fellow Christians statewide to help promote or embark in modern agriculture in rural areas.
“The Anglican Church has around 150,000 members throughout the state. This is a big number and a big market,” he said, adding that his ministry was ready to introduce the fertigation system of modern farming to them.
During the event, Uggah announced a grant of RM100,000 to St Thomas’ Cathedral here to conduct its youth programme next year.
Unifor director Datu Dr Ngenang Janggu, Anglican Bishop of Sarawak and Brunei, the Right Reverend Danald Jute and his Sabah counterpart, the Right Reverend Datuk Melter Jiki Tais and event organising chairman Archdeacon Jose Jol of St Basil’s Church were also present at the function.