Sarawak to consider Selangor as model for non-Islamic affairs agency


Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUCHING, Sept 26 — Sarawak will study how Selangor handles non-Muslim affairs for guidance on the east Malaysian state’s proposed Non-Islamic Religious Affairs Unit, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said today.

Uggah also said the draft of the organisational structure for the agency was being finalised.

“The state government wants to see the unit on a firm footing before it starts operating before year end,” he said when asked to comment on the status of the unit that was announced three months ago.

Uggah explained that Selangor was chosen as a possible model as the state has a unit to deal with non-Islamic religious matters.

He also said Sarawak must not rush into the matter as a poor beginning would not augur well for the unit and reflect poorly on the state administration, after acknowledging calls to expedite the agency’s formation.

“We will name the head of the unit after we have approved the draft of the organisational structure,” he told reporters after opening the Annual General Meeting of the State Farmers’ Organisation (SFO) here.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem announced the setting up of the unit in the State Assembly’s sitting in June this year, with Uggah as the minister-in-charge.

Last Wednesday, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS Baru) president Cobbold John Lusoi urged Uggah not to delay naming the head of the unit.

He has said there were many issues affecting non-Muslims in Sarawak that needed to be resolved, and cited the usage of the word “Allah” by Christians as an example.

While not a problem in Sarawak, Lusoi said native Christians feared they might court trouble if they use the word in the Peninsula.