RM1mil for churches in Lawas, Trusan not a bribe, Unifor has been handing out development funds since 2017, says Uggah

SIBU: The distribution of RM1mil to 41 Borneo Evangelisation Mission (BEM) churches in Lawas and Trusan last week by Sarawak’s Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) is not a form of corruption, says Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah (pic).

The minister in charge of Unifor said on Monday (Dec 13) that the unit had been handing out similar development funds since 2017.

He was speaking at an Agriculture Community Outreach Programme (Agricop) programme for farmers in the Bawang Assan constituency on Monday (Dec 13).

Uggah was responding to allegations made by Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) candidate for Ba'Kelalan Baru Bian, who claimed that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was trying to "buy” the votes of the predominantly Christian voters in the constituency.

"There is nothing wrong with receiving funding from the government, but the timing of the programme is questionable and raises many red flags.

"There are more than 800 BEM churches in Sarawak but only those in Lawas and Trusan were given money in the week before the state election," Bian had said.

According to Uggah, Unifor was set up in 2016 and began giving out funds to churches and temples in 2017.

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