By Aida Aziz
IPOH: Not many people know about the existence of the Masjid Lama located in the middle of the city of Ipoh around 1870, before it was ‘swept away’ to Kampung Bandar, Kampung Gajah.
In fact, the mosque which is over 100 years old is also one of the oldest mosques in Kinta, thus strengthening the evidence of the history of the Malay community in Ipoh.
Secretary of the Perak Heritage Association, Nor Hisham Zulkiflee when met said, the latest discovery about the existence of the mosque was driven by his association, with the objective of ‘unlocking’ more Malay treasures based here.
He said, through a study conducted on his side recently, there is a document that records the plan of the mosque located on the site of Bangunan Seri Kinta, Ipoh which is now there.
“There used to be an Kampung Masjid Lama here, but unfortunately it has disappeared. Its location is around the Jambatan Sultan Idris.
“After Kampung Ipoh developed into a city, the village slowly began to disappear.
“It disappeared completely when the mosque was moved or according to historical records the mosque was swept away by the river to Kampung Gajah,” he said.
Said Nor Hisham, the mosque with a new name, Masjid Al-Madinah Kampong Bandar was then rebuilt in 1890 using almost all of the original materials.
The reason the mosque had to be moved was because the site of the mosque had been taken over by the then British-administered government.
“During that time, Ipoh was developing. So they took over the site of the mosque and the compensation from the takeover was the construction of a new mosque in another location, the Panglima Kinta Mosque,” he said.
He added that the selection of Kampung Gajah was also driven by the large population factor in addition to the more pressing needs in the area.
“My survey in Kampung Gajah previously found that the mosque is still the same, they have maintained 70 percent of the original architecture.
“Unfortunately, only a few families live in that area, considering that it is often flooded by the Perak River when it floods.
“It is understood that the mosque is no longer in use, it is not sure if there is any renewal now, it would be a pity if it was just damaged without maintenance or repair,” he said.
He explained further, with the new discovery it is hoped that the authorities will take follow-up action to preserve the original site in the Bangunan Seri Kinta or the mosque itself, so that the state’s treasures do not simply disappear.
It’s even sadder if it receives the same fate as many heritage buildings that were lost in the past.
This is because according to him, the history of buildings in Ipoh so far is largely related to colonial architecture.
“My friends and I in the association are trying to find old mosques. We want to prove the remains of the Malay community’s heritage in Ipoh.
“When talking about Malay heritage in Ipoh, only two are often mentioned which are the Panglima Kinta Mosque and the Paloh Mosque. We look for and research what else there is.
“Because we can see today the heritage highlighted here is colonial and Chinese. There is a lack of monuments left by the Malay or Muslim community. We want to enrich the existing heritage,” he said.