THE Penang government is considering providing financial assistance to every non-Muslim house of worship which is greatly affected due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the aid would be part of the state RIBI (places of worship other than Islam) Fund.
“Previously, the state government, through Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAINPP), has already offered financial assistance to the mosques, so we will do the same to non-Muslim houses of worship as well.
“We understand that since the implementation of the movement control order (MCO), many of these places are struggling to keep their places going in terms of the operational cost and paying the workers’ salary.
“Most of the non-Muslim houses of worship also depend on public donations and devotees’ contributions which are greatly affected during those periods as well.
“Hence, this is why the financial aid is crucial and we are doing everything we can to help these places,” Chow told Buletin Mutiara during his visit to the Minor Basilica of St Anne in Bukit Mertajam today.
Also present were Berapit assemblyman Heng Lee Lee and Reverend Deacon Lazarus Anthony Jonathan.
Chow also expressed hopes that with the reopening of non-Muslim houses of worship during the recovery movement control order (RMCO), devotees and worshipers would continue donating to the churches, temples and so on to help the places to sustain their operation.
Meanwhile, Jonathan said the Feast of Saint Anne at the church would be conducted online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The festival will be fully live-streamed through our website at https://www.minorbasilicastannebm.com/
“The live streaming also will be available in four languages which are English, Bahasa Malaysia, Tamil and Mandarin.
“Hopefully, it will help pilgrims and devotees to stay connected during the festival that will be held from July 24 to Aug 2,” he said.
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud
Video by Ahmad Adil Muhamad