Mosque rehab to depend on funds

National 2 minutes, 34 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE building of new mosques and upgrading of existing ones are dependent on budget allocations as well as the availability of mosque funds.

Minister of Religious Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awang Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awang Othman said this yesterday during the 12th Session of the Legislative Council (LegCo) in response to the issue of mosques' constructions in a number of areas in the sultanate raised by LegCo members.

LegCo member Yang Berhormat Hj Sulaiman Hj Ahad enquired on the plans of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) on the upgrading of mosques and prayer halls in Temburong district.

Representing Temburong’s five mukims, he questioned the status of improving Masjid Utama Mohammad Salleh in Pekan Bangar as well as those in Kg Sumbiling Mukim Amoi, Kg Semabat Mukim Bukok and Kg Selapun Mukim Batu Apoi.

The minister responded to the query by saying that the upgrading of mosques in Temburong, namely Masjid Utama Mohammad Salleh and Batu Apoi mosque, are both undergoing ‘projek usai’ (project repair).

The minister said that meetings have been conducted by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) regarding these mosques to get inputs before improvements can be done.

He said that Masjid Mohammad Salleh’s design is now underway while the design for Batu Apoi mosque is being improved.

These two mosques are still waiting for the budget for upgrading works, the minister said.

The minister said the ministry is constantly monitoring prayer halls that need improvements not just in Temburong but in all the sultanate’s districts.

Similarly, Yang Berhormat Hj Gapor @ Hj Mohd Daud Karim, representing the capital’s Zone 2, asked about the construction of mosques under his jurisdiction, specifically in the housing areas of Meragang, Tanah Jambu and Mengkubau. The minister responded that construction of mosques in these areas is indefinitely postponed.

“The need to have a place of prayer in these areas is very dire…it will require a vast mosque that can accomodate more than eight thousand people, which means the budget needed will also be high,” said the minister.

He added, “In this situation, I hope that this will give awareness for us to further contribute to the mosque building fund to fulfill the needs of mosques in these areas.”

Meanwhile, Yang Berhormat Hj Jumat Akim raised issues regarding the status of the three-year delay in the renovation of Tanjung Bunut mosque as well as on the efforts to upgrade mosques in Zone 4 of Brunei-Muara district such as Masjid Kg Tanjung Nangka, Masjid Masin, Masjid Kg Lumapas and the construction of the new Masjid Kg Junjungan.

YB Pehin Dato Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin responded by saying that as the construction cost for Masjid Tanjung Bunut has increased from $1.5 to $3.6 million, the MUIB is now considering whether or not the project will be executed due to the amount of fund required. In answering the latter question by YB Hj Jumat, the minister said there are plans to upgrade mosques in Zone 4, but they will also depend on the availability of funds.

The Brunei Times