Prayer halls abandoned following village migrations
TWO prayer halls in Tutong are no longer being used following the migration of villagers from rural kampungs to urban areas, said an official from the Tutong Mosque Affairs Department yesterday.
Hj Masri Hj Mohammad said this on the sidelines of a working visit of the Minister of Religious Affairs to the district yesterday.
He told The Brunei Times that the two prayer halls – Surau Kg Malabau and Surau Kg Mapol – have been left abandoned for many years after residents of the villages migrated to other places.
“The increasing number of people moving to the capital led to the two villages becoming deserted. Houses and mosques are no longer used,” he said.
He explained that people preferred to move out from Kg Malabau and Kg Mapol because the villages were not easily accessible for both the residents and the general public.
“Both villages are located across the river and people have to use boats to reach the area. It takes almost one hour to reach the villages,” he said, adding that around 20 families used to live in the villages.
Hj Masri went on to say that there are no schools in the area.
“In order to have a proper education for the children, most of the parents decided to move,” he said.
“After a year of no congregants at the suraus, the imams requested to move and we decided to close the prayer halls,” he said
He added that the Mosque Affairs Department still allows the public to use the suraus if there is no proper places for prayers during their visits to the villages.
“Several initiatives have been taken to enliven the prayer halls but they were not successful,” he said, adding that both prayer halls are currently under the care of Islamic Da’wah Centre.
“We are hoping that the general public who visit the area will take good care of the prayer hall and not vandalise it,” he said.
According to Mosque Affairs Department, a total of 26 mosques and prayer halls are located in Tutong.
The Brunei Times