Sarawak funding for religion should stop unless there is transparency and fairness over the matter. Over the years since Unit for Other Religions (UNIFOR) had been set-up, the Sarawak government under GPS had annual allocations to other religions. People of other religions, especially, the Buddhists or Christians seemed happy about it and for 2024 Premier had announced that he had allocated RM110 million for Sarawak’s Unit for Other Religions.

Deputy Premier, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah had disclosed that since 2017 the government had approved total allocations of RM341.8 million for various house of worship.

Over the years, the GPS government was telling about allocations to UNIFOR but how about allocations to Islam or for the propagation of Islam? Was Islam not funded? If not funded, then this is against fairness and a discrimination against the muslims. If been funded, the GPS government is to disclose to the public how much allocations been given to Islam.

If been funded, it is here that I demand transparency and fairness from the GPS government to disclose how much had been allocated to religion of Islam since 2017. I demand transparency and fairness over this matter because the muslims may not feel happy if allocations were only meant for prayer houses under UNIFOR. Non-transparency and fairness in allocations of funds can create racial and religious tensions between the muslims and non-muslims in the state. I hope premier takes this seriously for the peace of the people of Sarawak.

I also demand transparency in this area of allocations because taxpayers have a right to know where or how their money is spent. This is a legal demand. People should not be made to pay taxes unless they know how their money is spent. It should be legal not to pay taxes to the government when the government refused, failed or could not disclose to public where their money is spent.

Again, such allocations, if any, to Islam or for projects for Islamic cause should not be more than that was allocated to Churches or to Christian because Christians are the majority in the state. If allocated, it should be more or less the same as received by the Buddhists because Buddhists and Muslims in Sarawak are more or less of the same numbers. If allocations for Islam are more than what Christians can get, this can also cause disharmony among the various races in the state.

VOON LEE SHAN
PRESIDENT,
PARTI BUMI KENYALANG
23 December 2023

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