A Living Museum

Located in Kampung Gajah, the 106-year-old Kampung Teluk Memali Mosque is reputed to be the oldest building in the village. Before being converted into a mosque in 1910 it was a nondescript prayer house (surau) that sat on the banks of the Perak River.

It was then moved to a safer site due to erosion. A resident turned the house into a centre for religious teachings and celebrations.

The mosque was built based on traditional Malay architecture to withstand the tropical weather. Decades passed and the mosque was soon abandoned and it became decrepit.

“Architecture students from Polytechnic Ungku Omar, Ipoh who were on a research study tour stumbled upon the mosque and that’s how it all started,” said Mohamad Haziq Zulkifli, creative writer of ATSA Architects Sdn Bhd.

Coincidentally, residents of Taman Seri Bougainvillea in Bandar Seri Botani, Ipoh were seeking funds to build a surau. Dr Mohd Jaki Mamat of Polytechnic Ungku Omar, upon hearing the residents’ plight, suggested that the disused mosque be relocated, lock, stock and barrel, to Taman Seri Bougainvillea. The proposal was greeted with much enthusiasm.

“It’ll be a living museum, where people can visit and perform their prayers at the same time. It could be included in the heritage mosque trail for touristic purposes,” said Haziq.

Relocation works began in April. The second stage involved the dismantling, repairing, treating and reinstalling components of the mosque.

Dr Mohd Jaki supervised the dismantling process. Everything was done under his supervision. He sent the beams and other wooden components for repair to a craftsman in Chemor.

The third phase involves the installation of power and water supply and the refitting and remodelling of wooden components. Local colleges and universities such as Polytechnic Ungku Omar Polytechnic, International Islamic University and Taylor’s University are part of the team. The project is scheduled to complete early next year.

Chief Executive Officer of ATSA Architects, Ar Azim A. Aziz, has compiled synopses on 109 mosques all over Malaysia in a book called “Masjid – Selected Mosques and Musollas in Malaysia”.

This 750-page hardcover took over two years to complete. It was a collaborative effort with various government agencies, architects and institutes of higher learning. “It’s like taking a walk in all 14 states, without actually walking. It incorporates history, descriptions and pictures of the 109 mosques in the country,” said Haziq.

“I met a foreigner who was interested in mosques. Every country she visited, she would visit the mosques. That was thoughtful of her. I feel every mosque has something to tell,” he recounted.

The book is priced at RM300 each. Proceeds from book sale will go towards the funding of the relocation project. Another RM250,000 is required to fulfil the undertaking.

Appreciating heritage buildings is something we all lack. For a good cause, donations can be made to Tabung Pemindahan Masjid Teluk Memali 1052 8000 3201 (Affin Islamic Bank).

The book can be purchased at major bookstores in the country. Online purchases can be done at www.mosquearchitecture.com.my. For enquiries, visit www.memalimosque.com.my or their Facebook page at fb.com/KgTelukMemaliOldMosque.

Khaleeja Suhaimi

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