The State Cabinet has given its approval for a Non-Islamic Affairs Unit to be set up under the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Department.
Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas said the three basic functions of the structure were to evaluate, propose and formulate policies with regard to non-Islamic affairs in the state.
In his winding-up speech at the 18th State Legislative Assembly in Kuching, today, he said it would act as a focal point for the various religious bodies to liaise and interact with state or federal agencies on matters such as land application and funding for the construction of buildings.
“It is also to promote religious harmony in the state,” said Uggah who has been tasked with overseeing the unit.
He said the cabinet had approved the creation of 17 new posts of various grades for the unit this year.
“A full-time director will lead the unit and we are in the process of recruiting the various staff,” he said.
He said the unit, which was a brainchild of late Chief Minister Adenan Satem, had received eight land application approvals for the construction of non-Islamic religious institutions.
“We have been processing 30 applications for the funding of both construction and maintenance of the buildings,” he said.
Meanwhile, Uggah said the respective Divisional Resident Offices would be given authority to appoint, extend or end the services of community leaders.
On the need to increase the number of such posts, he said this would be based on current need and justification from the Residents and District Offices.
He added that the state government would continue to strengthen the community leader institution by upgrading their level of competency through relevant courses, seminars and workshops from time to time. – Bernama