By John Isaac
CATHOLICS in Permyjaya, Miri will finally have a proper church for worship and other activities with a 1.5 acre land opposite Emart Commercial Centre granted by the state government.
“The land title was issued this year and now we will assist with getting funding. They will start earthworks soon,” said Minister of Transports Datuk Lee Kim Shin after attending the official opening of St. Anthony of Padua new church building in Tudan as reported by Borneo Post.
Also present were Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting and Catholic Bishop of Miri Diocese, Rt Rev Richard Ng.
“Our Sarawak government has been helping various religions in Sarawak, especially with the establishment of Unifor (Unit For Other Religion).
“When Unifor was first set up a total of RM20 million was allocated, then another RM30 million was given last year. This year, Unifor has allocated RM50 million for non-Muslim houses of worship,” said Lee who reminded Sarawakians to treasure the peace and harmony that enable people of various races and religions to live together.
Touching on the new church building of St. Anthony, the whole project cost RM1.7 million with RM850,000 from the state government.
Lee presented RM10,000 minor rural project (MRP) grant to the church yesterday to install air-conditioners and other facilities in the church’s office.
Meanwhile, Ng thanked the Sarawak government, donors and sponsors for the new church building.
“This new church building can accommodate 600 to 700 people. The old one next door will be turned into a community hall, Sunday School and funeral parlour,” revealed Ng who said many locals live in small houses and experience difficulties in holding funerals for departed loved ones.
The Bishop also thanked the state government for a land in Permyjaya to build a new church to serve over 2,000 Catholic families there.
“Catholics there used a house for worship but due to Covid-19, it was closed as standard operating procedures could not be implemented. Some travel to St. Anthony of Padua for worship. Now Datuk Lee has helped us get another much needed church in Permyjaya,” he added.