A 106-year-old Malay heritage mosque, the Teluk Memali Mosque, from Kampung Gajah is in the midst of being rebuilt in Bandar Seri Botani, Ipoh.
Architectural firm ATSA Architects Sdn Bhd, which was tasked with the historic conservation endeavour, began the second phase of the rebuilding process of the mosque at its new site in Taman Seri Bougainvillea, Bandar Seri Botani this week.
ATSA Architects CEO Azim A. Aziz said the structural components of the mosque have all been dismantled and relocated to the new site.
“The first phase of the conservation began with of the construction of a new foundation on the new site in April.
“Dismantling work began in June, which also coincided with Ramadan, with the relocation of the intricate timber mimbar (pulpit) from the mosque prayer hall to a community hall at Kampung Tersusun Teluk Memali,” Aziz said.
“On June 22, the kolah or ablution pond was lifted and taken out using crane and was transported with a lorry to the new site on the same day,” he said.
“A week later, a group of carpenters began dismantling the mosque, which saw the removal of the existing zinc metal roofing, followed by the facsia boards known as papan cantik, roof structural components, such as battens, rafters and roof beams,” he added.
Aziz said the dismantling process also led to the discovery of the former wood shingles, believed to be the original roofing material before the zinc metal roof was put in place.
“The dismantling process then continued with the dismantling of the wall panels, decorative panels, window panels and supporting columns.
“Each component was equally important structurally, thus they were taken down carefully piece by piece,” he said.
“All of the structural timber components were transported using lorry and were stored properly after being marked and tagged.
A special tent was erected on the site to protect the timber components from the elements,” he added.
Aziz said they are now in the midst of repairing and treating the timber components.
“Some of the structural components need to be upgraded due to decay, termite infestation, and several other factors.
“To ensure high-quality craftsmanship, we selected a local woodworking specialist, Sohigh Enterprise, to do all of the timber treatment work in their workshop in Chemor, Perak,” he said.
“To find the suitable and matched timber species and types, we have engaged experts from the Malaysian Timber Industry Board, who will be assisted by our licensed conservator, Mohd Jaki Mamat,” Aziz said.
“We have gone the extra lengths to find the replacement timber from as far as Kemaman, Terengganu, supplied by Pesama Timber Corporation,” he added.
Aziz said the third phase of the process, which will begin following the completion of the second phase, is to build new electrical and plumbing systems.
“We will then build supporting spaces, such as the balai lintang (annexe building for female worshippers and communal activities), ablution area, toilets, landscaping works, road, drainage, and fencing,” he said.
Aziz said several local universities and colleges will also take part in the historic endeavour, as part their community services initiatives. The project also offers a hands-on learning experience for architectural and construction students.
“Politeknik Ungku Omar, International Islamic University Malaysia, and Taylor’s University will take part in the restoration efforts.
“As part and parcel of financing this voluntary and non-profit effort, we are working on a monograph on mosque architecture in Malaysia,” he said.
“The monograph Masjid – Selected Mosques and Musollas in Malaysia is our effort to publish and document the various mosques that have been built in our country since the 17th century. All proceeds from the sales of the monograph, minus its printing cost, will be pledged to the funding of the conservation effort,” he added.
Aziz said they have successfully collected RM250,000 for the restoration of the historic mosque.
“The amount is still inadequate and we are appealing for another RM250,000.
“As a non-profit effort and a charitable cause, a fund-raising drive, with the aim of collecting around RM500,000, is being conducted to meet the project’s expenses,” he said.
The restoration will also be documented in a comprehensive Historic Architectural Building Survey report, as required by the Department of National Heritage, as well as a video documentary.
For learn more about the project, visit www.memalimosque.com.my or the Facebook page www.facebook.com/KgTelukMemaliOldMosque/.
Those who wish to obtain more information or make a donation to the project can call ATSA Architects Chief Operating Officer Syed Kamal Affendi Syed Mustapha at 012- 3292827 or Mohamad Haziq Zulkifli at 018-397 3535, and email firstname.lastname@example.org.