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Tunku opens RM1m Usia building; assures religious freedom
Published on: Monday, July 31, 1972
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DAILY EXPRESS (Monday, July 31, 1972) - KOTA KINABALU, Sun - The Secretary General of the Islamic Secretariat Tunku Abdul Rahman today described Islam as a ‘progressive’ religion suitable for this region.

He was speaking at the opening of the new $1.1 million United Sabah Islamic Association or Usia building at the Sembulan roundabout near Kota Kinabalu this evening.

The Tunku pointed out that several provisions had been made by the Islamic Religion to assist orphans and the poor.

This had not been done by most of the other religions. He also blamed certain quarters for misinterpreting the teachings of Islam.

These people, he added had been going about this task with the intentions of making personal gains.

Referring to the new Usia building, he said, it was clear indication of the progress of Islam in Sabah. On the Islamic news agency conference in Kuala Lumpur next month, the Tunku said most of the member countries of the Secretariat had indicated their willingness to participate in it.

Earlier, the President of Usia Tun Datu Haji Mustapha reassured the people of Sabah that the association’s activities would not prevent anyone from professing their own religion.

Usia’s main task was to promote Islam in the State. In doing this however, the association would continue to respect the right of the individual in the choice of a religion.

This was in line with the democratic principles practised by Malaysia. Tun Datu Haji Mustapha pointed out that such respect for one another was important for the people of Sabah as well as Malaysia to continue to live in peace, harmony and prosperity.

Referring to the achievements of Usia, he said the association had converted about 45,000 people since its inception. It had set-up 54 religious schools all over the State with a total enrolment of 17,000 students.

In order to overcome the shortage of religious teachers the association had recruited 9 teachers from West Malaysia.

Plans were in hand to establish an Islamic College in the State in the future. Tun Datu Haji Mustapha also announced that the 6-million-dollar national mosque in Kota Kinabalu will be completed by 1974. It will be able to accommodate about ten thousand people.

Earlier in the day, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Secretary General of the Islamic Secretariat was accorded a grand red carpet welcome when he flew into the State Capital this morning for a week-long visit.

Thousands of people from all walks of life thronged the airport since early morning to welcome the Tunku and his wife, Tun Sharifah Rodziah. 

The first to greet him as soon as he alighted from the aircraft was the Chief Minister, Tun Datu Haji Mustapha and Toh Puan Hajah Rahma.

The Tunku later mounted a special dais and took the salute from a guard of honour formed by 100 members of the Usno Youth. 

An all-girls angklung group from the Usno was in attendance. Following this, Tun Datu Haji Mustapha introduced the Tunku to a long line of dignitaries, including the Chief Minister of Sarawak Dato Haji Abdul Rahman Ya’akub, the Speaker of the State Assembly, Dato Haji Mohd. Kassim, Federal and State Ministers, Members of Parliament, State Assemblymen, political leaders and senior army, police and goverment officers. 

The Tunku later left in a motorcade for Tun Mustapha’s residence where he will be staying during the visit. Sixty Bajau horsemen escorted the motorcade.

The Federal Minister of Communications Tan Sri Haji Sardon bin Jubir and his wife were among the eighty invited guests who arrived in the same plane as the Tunku. Among others were the Mentri Besar of Perlis, Kedah, Perak and Terengganu.

Later in the evening, Tun Datu Haji Mustapha hosted a reception at his residence in Tanjong Aru in honour of the Tunku.

Photo caption: Mustapha, Tunku and Yassin praying during the opening of the Usia building.


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