SIBU: Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, Edwin Banta, suggests that Sarawak’s Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) pay a fixed salary (allowance) to priests in the state.
“My proposal is that I wish for the (state) government through Unifor to give salary to priests instead of them having to rely on (public) donation only.
“I am suggesting for Unifor to give salaries to priests similar to those Ustaz under Jabatan Agama Islam Sarawak (Jais) paid monthly salary by the state government.
“It is better that it is standardised, now that we have Unifor,” he suggested.
Edwin was representing Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing at the Bawang Assan Iban Methodist Church’s charity dinner at a restaurant here on Saturday.
Also present were Unifor director Dr Ngenang Janggu, deputy director Richard Lon, Bawang Assan Iban Methodist Church chairman of the board financial management cum organising chairman ‘Tuai Rumah’ Dennis Ansam, Bawang Assan Iban Methodist Church chairman August Abett, Temenggong Wilfred Billy Panyau, Penghulu Evelyn Holly Sebom and Reverend Joshua Mangka.
The charity dinner which was attended by some 500 people aimed to raise fund for the church administration.
Meanwhile, Dr Ngenang explained that Unifor is a unit under the Chief Minister’s Department supervised by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
He added that the establishment of this unit is to assist other religions besides Islam.
“We not only assist Christians but (also those of) other religions such as Sikh, Sikh, Hindu, Buddha and others.
“Also under Unifor, we help to identify burial sites for other religions needing them,” he said.
He thanked Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for increasing the allocation for Unifor from year to year.
Ngenang said he would bring Bawang Assan Iban Methodist Church’s application to build the Methodist Bawang Assan Education Centre to Uggah for further action.
At the function, Edwin announced an allocation of RM15,000 from Masing and his personal contribution of RM2,000 to the Church.