Baru Bian sounds out against millions given to churches in Lawas, Trusan
“There is nothing wrong with churches receiving these funds from the government, but the timing of this programme is questionable and raises many red flags. When there are over 800 BEM churches in Sarawak, why is it that only those in Lawas and Trusan are being given money in the week just before the election?”
(The Vibes) – Parti Sarawak Bersatu’s Baru Bian has denounced the director of the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) based in the Chief Minister’s Office, who reportedly distributed funds totalling RM1 million during his visits to Lawas and Trusan last week.
Bian – who is defending the Ba’kelalan seat as incumbent in the upcoming state election – cited an article from a local news portal that said Unifor director Richard Lon had issued cheques worth RM1 million to 41 centres of the Borneo Evangelical Mission (BEM).
Bian told The Vibes he was informed that a total of RM3.21 million will be distributed to 80 BEM churches in Trusan and Lawas, both polling districts of Ba’kelalan.
“Photos of the news article labelled with the word ‘Rasuah’ (bribery) are being viralled in social media.
“This is a deplorable act of attempted vote-buying. Many of the ordinary church leaders I met are unhappy about this fund distribution programme.
“There is nothing wrong with churches receiving these funds from the government, but the timing of this programme is questionable and raises many red flags. When there are over 800 BEM churches in Sarawak, why is it that only those in Lawas and Trusan are being given money in the week just before the election?” he asked.
Bian, who is also Selangau MP, said it does not take a genius to figure out that the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition is trying to buy votes from the predominantly Christian voters in Ba’kelalan.
He said it is disappointing for GPS to stoop so low by using Unifor for its political gains.
“Their desperation to win is evident for all to see. The choice of venue for the presentation of cheques is deplorable, too. Instead of community halls, they organised the distribution of such allocations at various churches.”
Bian said this infiltration of churches by agents of politics has desecrated and defiled the sacred sanctuaries.
“Clearly, these GPS politicians do not have any scruples, and this undignified attempt at vote-buying has tarnished the image of Unifor.
“It has even created suspicion about the motives for the setting up of this unit. Perhaps, the motives were not as altruistic as they were made out to be.