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Plea for more funds to non-Muslim bodies

 | November 21, 2017

Kiulu assemblyman Joniston Bangkuai says many places of worship are in dire need of repairs.


KOTA KINABALU: Kiulu assemblyman Joniston Bangkuai has called on the state government to consider increasing the annual allocation for non-Muslim bodies.

He said a bigger allocation was necessary as many non-Muslim places of worship as well as mission and independent school buildings are in a dilapidated condition and need urgent repairs.

Noting that under the 2018 state budget a sum of RM32 million would be allocated for non-Muslim bodies, mission schools and independent schools, Bangkuai suggested that the grant be increased to between RM35 million to RM40 million.

“Sabah has quite a sizeable non-Muslim population and it is heartening that the state government has recognised their needs,” he said when debating the 2018 state Budget.

He also said that as a non-Muslim assemblyman, he was thankful to Chief Minister Musa Aman for consistently providing annual allocations to non-Muslim bodies.

Bangkuai said he was aware that the allocation for non-Muslim bodies had increased over the years from only RM7.08 million in 2004 to RM32 million this year.

“I believe the allocation is also a reflection that religious freedom in Sabah is very much alive,” Bangkuai said.

On another matter, he thanked the chief minister for recognising Kiulu, together with Kedamaian, as pilot projects for rural tourism development.

He said the recognition was apt as the number of visitors to Kiulu had seen a drastic increase over the last three years following concerted efforts to promote rural tourism.

Figures provided by the Kiulu Tourism Association showed that 27,000 visitors came to Kiulu last year and 40,000 until September this year, generating revenue of RM3 million.

He described the RM12 million special allocation under the 2018 state budget for tourism development, with special focus on rural tourism, as most appropriate.

Considering the booming tourism development in Kiulu, Bangkuai suggested the expansion of the Kiulu township by building new shophouses and commercial premises.

Bangkuai said to realise the expansion of the Kiulu township there was a need to speed up construction of the Bayag bridge.

He also called for a study to determine the suitability of Kiulu to be made a sub-district.

Bangkuai also wanted the government to upgrade all the roads to remote primary schools in Kiulu which became inaccessible during heavy rains.


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