On behalf of the Penang State Government, I am delighted to be present here today at the Re-Dedication of the Church of the Assumption and the Launch of the Roman Catholic Museum, Diocese of Penang on the very first day of the year 2018.
The Bishop of Penang, Rt. Rev. Dato’ Sebastian Francis has given a wonderful historical background of the Penang Church which dates back to 236 years since 1781 and to the construction of this beautiful church around 157 year old ago. The church is the embodiment of unity as can be seen by the many people of all races and religions who helped to contribute and work to make the restoration of the Church of the Assumption a success and the setting up of the Roman Catholic Museum, Diocese of Penang a reality.
The state government will continue to support within our means non-Muslim religious to ensure that the constitutional provision of freedom of worship is uphold. For this propose, the following 10 measures have been implemented:
1) Establishing a Non-Muslim Religion EXCO portfolio that is headed by Penang Chief Minister
2) Allocating land for places of religious worship
3) Providing funding amounting to RM30 million since 2008
4) Granting approval by local government councils for construction of non-Muslim places of religious worship
5) Granting a yearly allocation of RM1.1 million to the Hindu Endownment Board
6) Giving a building in Macalister Road for Hindu Endownmnet Board to manage theirs affairs
7) Ensuring that having developer must provide for an equal amount of religious land for non-Muslim religious
8) Giving a building to manage affairs specifically for Non-Muslim Religion portfolio in Scotland Road
9) Annual allocations of RM50,000 to Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taosiam (MCCBCHST)
10) Annual allocations to missionary schools
We regret that when the state government increases allocation for Islam by 84% since 2008 which is RM457.05 million compared with only RM249.09 million given by the previous state government over a 9 year period, we are accused by irresponsible elements as anti-Chinese. And yet when we implemented the above 10 measures never implemented before to upold the constitutional rights of non-Muslims, we are accused to be anti-Islam or anti-Muslims.
The Penang State Government is not anti-Islam nor anti-non-Muslim, we are only anti-extremism, anti-rasist and anti-corruption.
The State Government is committed in supporting all religious house of worship and we will provide some form of financial support especially for heritage restoration works. The state government has contributed a total sum of RM250,000 towards the defrayment of the project cost estimated at RM2.5 million to bring it back to its aesthetic image in 1928.
Once again let us congratulate the Roman Catholic Church of Penang and all those involved in bringing us together under the roof of this 2nd oldest Catholic church in Malaysia to celebrate the Re-Dedication and Blessings of your Restored Church and we pray that GOD Bless Penang and Malaysia.
I wish all present a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR