PETALING JAYA: Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman today announced that the state government would allocate RM31.4 million this year for schools and non-Islamic religious bodies.
RM14 million from that amount would go to various schools in the state, including Chinese independent and mission schools, as well as kindergartens.
Allocations for non-Islamic religious bodies, such as churches, Chinese temples, Hindu and Sikh places of worship, total RM17.4 million.
Musa said 551 institutions would benefit from this “large allocation” which is “reflective of the state government’s commitment to upholding religious freedom”.
“I wish to state that the Sabah government will continue to assist non-Islamic religious bodies and schools as we have done over the years.
“Our records show that since 2004 until 2017, a total of RM333,999,199 has been disbursed to non-Islamic religious bodies and independent or mission schools in Sabah.
“It should be also noted that disbursements of grants have steadily increased over the years,” he said at an event in Kota Kinabalu.
Musa added that although he wasn’t able to meet all the financial requests forwarded to him, the state government had done its best to allocate whatever it could.
“Due to prudent financial management, the Sabah state government has been able to steadily increase this annual allocation.”
He also said the BN-led government is constantly aiming to reduce the gap in the facilities available in urban and rural areas.
The state government’s close ties with the federal government has provided it with a platform to achieve this, said Musa.
“There is no discrimination, and it is my hope that all parties act responsibly when discussing issues related to religion and the rights of all citizens, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
“Along with Islamic bodies, the non-Islamic bodies play an important role in promoting positive values in society,” he said.