Allocation for non-Islamic religious bodies increased

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Dr Joachim (sixth from right), Tourism Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew, Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Phoong Jin Zhe, USCCA President Datuk Susan Wong and invited guests showing the banners with Chinese New Year greetings at the opening of the event.

KOTA KINABALU (Jan 27): Allocation for the development of non-Islamic religious bodies, mission schools, national-type schools and private schools in Sabah has increased by RM2.7 million this year, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Hajiji Noor.

According to Hajiji, the State Government has allocated a total of RM56.75 million for this purpose in 2024, compared to RM54.05 million in 2023.

He disclosed that of the RM56.75 million, RM24.15 million is designated for schools, and RM32.6 million for the development of non-Islamic religious bodies.

“This means there is an increase of RM2.7 million compared to the allocation in 2023. This increase also reflects that the State Government is very concerned and serious about assisting the community in Sabah, regardless of race, ethnicity and religion,” he said.

Hajiji said this in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival 2024 in conjunction with the coming Chinese New Year celebration.

The event was organized by the United Sabah Chinese Communities Association Kota Kinabalu (USCCAKK) at the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC) on Saturday.

Hajiji’s speech was delivered by Deputy Chief Minister cum Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Joachim Gunsalam.

Hajiji said that this year, the State Government has also allocated RM1.5 million in assistance to various associations and temples through the state and parliamentary constituencies to purchase lion heads for their troupes.

He pointed out that the assistance for the lion heads during Chinese New Year clearly demonstrates the government’s commitment to justice and equality in all aspects, especially in the distribution of allocations and contributions, to ensure that the people can celebrate their respective festivals.

Hajiji also praised USCCAKK for consistently organizing the Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival in conjunction with the Chinese New Year celebration every year, adding that the event is eagerly awaited for by the Chinese community and the diverse population of this state.

In conjunction with the Chinese New Year, he urged all the people in the state, including the Chinese community, to continue working together with the government to develop and advance the state, ensuring that Sabah continues to progress and prosper.

“I also want to express my gratitude, especially to the Chinese community, for your continuous support in working hand in hand with us to prosper this state,” he said.

Hajiji added that 2024 is the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese Zodiac, which is known for its power, greatness and courage.

“I hope the inherent characteristics of the Dragon will serve as a catalyst for us to continue the development agenda, recover the economy, implement all plans, and seek good opportunities for the state and its people,” he said.