PETALING JAYA, Jan 23 — Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah has commended the Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) for doing very well in cementing inter-religious harmony and unity in the state.
He said the unit, which is under the Chief Minister’s Office, has moved beyond its name and is now a recognised, much appreciated and supported platform in this direction.
He said since it was formed by former chief minister, the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem, three years ago, and has channelled more than RM60 million in aid to more than 500 projects for non-Islamic religious groups.
He added the state government has approved a three-acre site at Ong Tiang Swee Road here for the unit’s headquarters.
“The success of the unit is commendable because when the state government set it up, it was not based on any model anywhere in the country because it is only available in Sarawak,” he said at a farewell dinner for the former unit’s director Datuk Dr Ngenang Janggu last night.
“Some sceptics predicted that it would remain just a name to please the non-Islamic groups and would not progress beyond its name.
“But here it is today an effective platform where the non-Islamic groups can air their views, fears and worries or concerns with a view to finding amicable solutions,” Uggah stressed.
He said the unit has met its objective to maintain and promote racial and religious harmony and unity in the state.
He added the unit is also a bridge between other non-Islamic religions and the Islamic groups to foster greater understanding, tolerance and peace.
Uggah added that non-Islamic houses of worship without roofs or walls or in a very sad state were now a thing of the past in Sarawak.
He said Unifor is now a role model towards preserving religious and racial harmony and unity in the nation.
“It will not adopt confrontation in solving problem and issues arising but will bring them to the table to be discussed and solved for the benefits of everyone.
“I again urge and hope whenever there are controversies, issues or fear by the non-Islamic groups, please bring them up in Unifor,” Uggah, who is also the minister in-charge of the non-Islamic religions in the state, said.
Uggah paid tribute to Ngenang for his contributions for making the unit into what it is today.
He said one of Ngenang’s contributions is the setting up of a charitable trust in Unifor to help finance the social and welfare activities of the non-Islamic groups.
Among those present at the dinner were the Archbishop of Kuching Simon Peter Poh, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion and other religious leaders.
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