Development encroaching upon T'ganu mosque raises concerns

ADRIAN DAVID


KUALA TERENGGANU: Preserve the sanctity of the Sultan Mahmud mosque in Kuala Berang, and the interests of its congregation, a lawmaker here urged today.

Pas Paka assemblyman Satiful Bahari Mamat called on the state government to ensure that there are adequate facilities for, and no impediments to worshippers frequenting the mosque, in view of commercial development encroaching on the land.

“I urge the authorities to ensure that the land where the mosque sits is given priority for religious activities and that worshippers have ample space to park their vehicles, especially during Friday prayers.

“I understand that less than 50 of the total 150 parking bays (on the site) are reserved for the congregation, with the balance allocated for guests of a proposed hotel, shops and offices.

“How can this be?” asked Satiful, who is Pas state commissioner, during a discussion initiated by Pas Manir assemblyman, Hilmi Harun, on the subject.

Satiful also took to task the state government for allowing the construction of the commercial complex and hotel to dwarf the mosque.

In response, Kuala Berang assemblyman, Tengku Datuk Putera Tengku Awang, who is the state industry and trade committee chairman, explained that three additional lots of land have been secured by the mosque management for redevelopment.

“This is to facilitate the construction of the commercial complex to house 30 units of shops and offices, plus the hotel.

“All revenue from these commercial entities will be channelled to the mosque. Keep in mind the possibility of various government agencies opening branches at the commercial complex to serve the community,” said Tengku Putera.

He added that there are plans to build two more mosques in the Hulu Terengganu district to cater to the people’s religious needs, thus, offering additional parking space for their vehicles.

However, PKR Bandar assemblyman Azan Ismail cautioned that commercialising the Sultan Mahmud mosque sets a precedent.

“Can all other mosques in the state have their premises converted for commercial purposes?

“This can affect the real purpose of having mosques,” he said.

Tengku Putera explained that decisions concerning mosques come under the purview of the state religious fatwa council, which is chaired by the ruler, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.