| Shah Alam, Malaysia | 31 Oct 2016 | Asia Samachar |
The Selangor state government has for the first time set aside a specific allocation for the Sikh community when rolling out its annual budget.
For 2017, Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali announced a RM500,000 allocation to repair Sikh gurdwaras undertaking religious programmes.
“The State Government gives due attention to the spiritual and socio-cultural aspects of all races, including the Sikh community,” he said when presenting the Selangor state government budget at the state assembly in Shah Alam today (31 Oct 2016).
“Hence, for the first time, the State Government proposes to allocate RM500,000 to the Sikh community in Selangor beginning 2017 under the allocation for Affairs Other Than Muslims for the purposes of repairing places of worship and undertaking various religious programmes.”
The state government has also proposed a RM1 million allocation for the Selangor Indian Entrepreneurship and Capacity Building Programme: Towards Economic Resilience, Empowerment and Upward Mobility.
Azmin made the announcements when unveiling a proposed RM3.45 billion state budget for 2017.
Selangor is not the first state in Malaysia to make specific allocations for the Sikhs. Perak had earlier earmarked a similar allocation for Sikhs, but it has since disappeared from its budget allocation.
For some years, the Federal Government had also provided funding to Sikh organisation through units at the Prime Minister’s Office.
In July 2016, it was announced that Selangor state government had provided RM200,000 to 18 gurdwaras for their upkeep and rehabilitation, the second consecutive year for such funding.
The announcement was made at a press conference by Puchong Member of Parliament (MP) Gobind Singh Deo and Selangor state exco member V Ganabatirau, attended by representatives from most of the recipient gurdwaras.
In welcoming the proposed allocation, Malaysian Gurdwaras Council (MGC) president Jagir Singh tells Asia Samachar: “This is the first time the Selangor Government is providing separate allocation to the Sikh community. Earlier it was provided under Indian Community.”
He said the allocation was a result of the meeting of Sikh gurdwaras in Selangor with Ganabatirau in October 2015.
“I then presented a memorandum to YB and briefed all those present about the contents of the Memorandum. Our main request was that there should be a direct grant to all Selangor Gurdwaras and channeled through MGC instead of present system where Gurdwaras had to apply individually every year and justify their request.
“In the memorandum, we had proposed an outright yearly allocation to every Selangor Gurdwara for Gurdwaras maintenance.
“In addition we had proposed that there must be further allocation for Gurdwaras special projects like fencing , painting, drainage works, kitchen repairs, etc,” he said.
He said for special projects, each gurdwara would have to submit details of project and costing.
“YB Gobind Singh Deo was also present at the meeting and supported our request for yearly direct allocation. MGC would like to thank the Selangor State Government, YB Ganabatirau and YB Gobind Singh Deo for making this allocation possible. Earlier this year 15 Gurdwaras who applied for assistance were given cheques of RM10,000 each,” he added.
Extracts from his speech:
195. Kepelbagaian agama dan kaum adalah keunikan yang dimiliki oleh Negeri Selangor. Semua kaum diberi perhatian yang seadilnya dalam aspek kerohanian dan sosio-budaya oleh Kerajaan Negeri termasuk komuniti Sikh.
196. Justeru, buat julung kalinya Kerajaan Negeri bercadang untuk memperuntukkan sejumlah RM 500,000 kepada komuniti Sikh di Selangor mulai tahun 2017 di bawah peruntukan Hal Ehwal Selain Islam bagi tujuan menambahbaik kemudahan tempat beribadat dan melaksanakan pelbagai program keagamaan.
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