Saturday, 23 March 2013

In Belait More Mosques Needed

Kg Masin Mosque
Kg Masin Mosque would be considered to accomodate the increasing number of worshippers, 
especially during Friday prayers. 
Picture; BT/Hanaffi Hidup 

About Islam in Brunei Darussalam, The need to build more mosques and facilities was brought up during the ninth sitting of the Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting yesterday.

LegCo representative from Belait District Zone One Brunei Darussalam,Yang Berhormat Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad questioned why there were fewer mosques in Belait compared to Tutong when Belait had a population of over 60,000 and it has the second largest population behind Brunei-Muara District.

According to the YB, Brunei-Muara District has 54 mosques, Tutong District has 24 mosques, Temburong has eight and Belait District has 10 mosques.

"Is it because there are not many Muslims residing in Belait or is the number decreasing is it fewer than in Tutong and Temburong?", he asked.

However, he commended the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) for the new mosque to be built at Kg Lumut Satu Brunei Darussalam.

In response, Religious Affairs Minister, Yang Berhormat Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad Pg Hj Abd Rahman said that the number of mosques in the country as mentioned by YB Hj Mohd Shafiee was incorrect as there was actually 114 mosques in the country which should include suraus and prayer halls.

Penghulu of Mukim Telisai, Yang Berhormat Hj Ramli Hj Lahit said steps should be taken to better equip mosques.

Speaking during the meeting, the LegCo representative from Tutong District Zone Two said, "Looking back on His Majesty's titah in 2007, in conjunction with the monarch's 61st birthday, amongst what was said was that any agencies that still apply or use rules or processes that could slow down achievements and obstruct or impede efficient services, then these agencies should change their views or ways."

"On the last issue, the design and building of mosques should reflect the beauty and grace of Islam, and the design should be based on Islamic concepts, especially the design of the dome."

"Consideration should also be taken into providing a reading room, office for imams, a place to manage funerals, a store, an ablution area for men and women, a female prayer room or area, a hearse or funeral car, sufficient parking spots and a place to perform sacrificial ceremonies (during Hari Raya Aidil Adha)."

He was grateful that funding for the installation of CCTVs for mosques was mentioned in the minister's speech. He asked if the funding was also to include the installation of a high-quality PA system.

The Minister of Religious Affairs in his reply said, "The building of such mosques are already in MoRA's plan as now we have to not only build a mosque but also consider what should come with the mosque. InsyaAllah, future mosques will come with even better facilities. A budget of $100 million has been allocated to build more prominent mosques."

However, he stressed that not all mosques will be built to stand out. Mosques in rural areas cannot be compared to those in more populated areas.

Yang Berhormat Hj Jumat Akim, LegCo representative from Brunei-Muara District Zone Four said that with the funding of $251.18 million, MoRA will be able to carry out various strategic plans and projects.

He commended the ministry on the completion of two big mosques in Zone Four, namely the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Mosque in Kg Kilanas and Pengiran Muda 'Abdul Mateen in Mulaut.

He suggested that the constructions ofKg Tanjung Bunut Mosque, Kg Tarap Bau Mosque and Kg Lupak Luas Mosque to be speeded up.

" I also suggest an expansion of the Lumapas Mosque or to construct a new one."

YB Hj Jumat then questioned when the Kg Batong Mosque could be used since it was constructed at the same as the other mosques he mentioned.

"The Kampong Masin Mosque should also be given attention as there is an issue of an increasing number of congregants attending the Friday prayers leading to some having to pray outside the mosque using tents."

The minister in his response said that the Kg Tanjung Bunut Mosque would be built with the existing mosque.

"However, in the process of building the new mosque, a cabin-like box will be made to fit 40 to 50 people for praying purposes while waiting for completion."

On having a mosque in Kg Tarap Bau, the minister said that a study would be conducted to see if it was suitable to build a mosque there.

On the Lumapas Mosque, the minister said that a project to expand the mosque was in the pipeline. He also said Kg Batong Mosque would be able to be used once a substation had been built.

"The case of there being too many congregants at the Kampung Masin Mosque will be addressed straight away and an expansion will be considered," the minister added.

LegCo member representing Belait District Zone Two, Yang Berhormat Hj Mohd Yusof Dulamin expressed the hope that among the seven new mosques to be built, one would be constructed at Kg Mumong. 

The Head Village of Kg Mumong said that it had long been a dream of the people of the village with a population of more than 8,500, which exceeds the number of people living in the Temburong District, to have a mosque.

The Religious Affairs Minister replied that the building of a mosque in Kg Mumong was a current project.

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