KUCHING: Grants totalling RM3.8mil have been presented to 30 Roman Catholic mission schools in Kuching through the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), says Assistant Minister of Local Government Datuk Dr Penguang Manggil.The grants demonstrated the Sarawak government’s commitment to enhance the prestige of mission schools, which had long been a pillar of unity in the state, he said.“This is the first time such assistance has been given to mission schools by the state government.
“It is a commendable move in line with the government’s policy of inclusivity for all races and religions in Sarawak,” he said at the presentation ceremony here yesterday.Penguang, who is also the Sarawak Roman Catholic mission schools adviser, said the state government was also committed to ensuring good infrastructure and facilities for mission schools in the state.“The mission schools executive committee under Unifor was set up to assist mission schools to manage and upgrade their facilities,” he added.
The grants are part of an initial RM15mil allocated by the state government through Unifor to 123 mission schools in Sarawak this year.
For the Roman Catholic denomination, grants of RM2.76mil were also distributed to 23 schools in Sibu and RM840,000 to seven schools in Miri.
The Anglican Diocese of Kuching received an allocation of RM6mil for its 50 schools statewide.
For the Methodist denomination, the Sarawak Iban Annual Conference received an allocation of RM960,000 for eight schools while the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference was allocated RM600,000.
In Sandakan, a total of RM177,980 was provided by the Federal Government to four churches in east coast Sandakan to carry out maintenance and repair works.
Three of the churches which received the funding were from Basel Christian Church of Malaysia (BCCM) Sandakan, Sibuga and Singkang while the fourth was for the Methodist Church Sandakan.
The federal financial assistance programme was under the emergency work, repair and maintenance for non-Islamic religious bodies from the National Unity Ministry.Sabah MCA treasurer Datuk Chin Kim Hiung, who is also Libaran MCA division chief, said he assisted the churches by handing over the application to the then National Unity deputy minister Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker in May.
He said BCCM Sandakan and BCCM Sibuga each received RM 30,000, BCCM Singkang received RM37,980 and Methodist Church Sandakan received RM80,000 to carry out emergency works, repair and maintenance of their respective facilities.
Chin and other local MCA leaders met with the representatives of the churches on Tuesday. The representatives thanked the Federal Government and Chin for assisting them in obtaining the funds.