KUCHING: Sarawak’s Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) is the only formal government agency in Malaysia to look after the needs of non-Muslims, reflecting Sarawak’s priorities regarding inclusion and diversity.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said Sarawak is a model for the country, where those of different religious beliefs can live peacefully.
A high degree of religious tolerance, acceptance, and mutual respect amongst the people of different religious beliefs prevail in Sarawak, he said at The International Catholic Committee of Nurses and Medico-Social Assistants (CICIAMS) XX World Congress here yesterday.
These harmonious surroundings and freedom have been strongly endorsed by the state leaders including our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who practises a policy of inclusivity.
He said Unifor looks after the affairs of non-Islamic religious bodies in Sarawak including Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Bahais, and Taoists.
It is directly under my portfolio. The state government has committed a yearly financial allocation to Unifor for the construction and repair of houses of worship and other infrastructure facilities for the non-Islamic religious bodies, he said.
He added the Sarawak government has also committed RM40,000 to fund the congress.
Themed ‘Education for Sustainable Health: Engaging Development, Respecting Life’, the congress seeks to focus on issues affecting children, youth, and the elderly.
I am confident that this congress will provide the vision and the tools for us to educate, sustain life, and promote all that will enable each person to be fully human, living our life with meaning and purpose, said Uggah.
He also expressed his appreciation for the pioneering spirit of the Church and early missionaries, who ventured into the jungles of Borneo to set up schools and especially clinics staffed by Sisters and lay faithful, who were trained as nurses and midwives.
These became the backbone and foundation of the government medical clinics and even hospitals we developed. The Sarawak government acknowledges this great contribution and thus gives our support for this congress to be hosted in Kuching, he added.
I hope you will be empowered by the congress and be promoters of integral human development through the nursing and healthcare profession. Carry on the mission of holistic healthcare and sustainable development in your own respective nations.
The three-day congress, which started on Tuesday, involves some 200 participants from 19 countries.
Among those present were Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development Cardinal Peter Turkson; Apostolic Nuncio (Vatican Ambassador) to Malaysia, the Most Revd Joseph Salvador Marino; and Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuching, the Most Revd Simon Poh.
Source: SARAWAK GOVERNMENT