More building of mosques in the pipeline: minister

National 2 minutes, 33 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE construction of mosques in various districts are still on target, the Minister of Religious Affairs assured the State Legislative Council (LegCo) yesterday.

Pehin Jawatan Luar Pekerma Raja Dato Seri Utama Dr Ustaz Hj Mohd Zain Hj Serudin said that the Kampung Batong Mosque in Panchor Murai has received support for the appointment of a consultant to begin construction work, after Brunei-Muara representative Hj Bakar Mansor requested clarification on the mosque whose application process had gone on for a few years.

Meanwhile, Belait representative Hj Mohd Shafiee Ahmad asked about a seminar last year, where Ministry of Religious Affairs officers spoke on the construction of a number of mosques in the Belait District.

"The status during that time was that it was currently in the process of land gazetting. I am interested to know how long this process will take," he said.

Pehin Dato Dr Ustaz Hj Mohd Zain said that the mosque in question was that of the Mumong Mosque, which he explained that land processes are still ongoing and they hope to gazette it as soon as possible.

"Once the land has been gazetted, Insya Allah, we will be able to start on following works, such as allocation application," he said.

The minister also touched on the Kampung Kiudang, Sengkarai and Keriam Mosques in the Tutong District. "The Kiudang mosque is currently undergoing construction and is almost completed," he said, before informing LegCo members that the Sengkarai mosque has already been tendered and is in the process of evaluation before being sent to the Tender Board.

"In regards to the Keriam mosque, it has already been tendered and the tenders received exceeds the allocated budget. Therefore this matter will have to be re-evaluated," he said, adding that there is a need to update the plans of the mosque.

Temburong representative Hj Sulaiman Hj Ahad questioned the minister on what is being done to disseminate Islamic teachings by means of the World Wide Web.

"It is necessary for the relevant parties to make use of websites as an alternative reference for the community (to get more information about the Islamic religion)," he said.

The minister said that the ministry has already taken a number of initiatives to spread reliable information on the Islamic religion through the Internet.

"In 2006, the Ministry of Religious Affairs started the Ministry of Religious Affairs official website, which links to the departments under it," he said.

"(This website) is hoped to be the number one source of reference, in addition to preparing online services and development information while spreading and disseminating Islamic knowledge and information," he added.

The minister also spoke of the ministry's e-Islam Information system launched in 2006, that will provide public access to Islamic knowledge, adding that these machines have been strategically placed in areas like mosques and the town centre.

"Preparations are also being undertaken to add information dissemination through new media," said Pehin Dato Dr Ustaz Hj Mohd Zain.

The Brunei Times