KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 (Bernama) — The Kampung Laut Mosque, one of the oldest mosques in Southeast Asia that was relocated to Nilam Puri, in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, and now moved back to original village, Kampung Laut, in Tumpat, Kelantan, is expected to open to the public this June.
East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) chief executive officer Datuk Baidzawi Che Mat said the 400-year-old mosque structure was reassembled back in the village after it was dismantled in Nilam Puri in September 2020.
He said the council was now in the process of getting the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) for the mosque from professional bodies and the Tumpat District Council to ensure that it would be safe to open it to the public.
“Visitors can pray at the mosque and also buy local products, especially the Kampung Laut serondeng, and this will help to generate income for local residents,” he told Bernama recently.
The historic mosque was built on the banks of a river in Kampung Laut in the 18th century by Muslim missionaries, and having been frequently hit by floods, including the major floods in 1926 and 1966, it was moved to Nilam Puri, about 20 kilometres from the original site.
The uniqueness of the Kampung Laut Mosque is in the entire construction which consists of cengal wood and without the use of any nails, apart from the fineness of the carving, which is the main attraction to tourists, researchers and architecture students.
The relocation of the mosque from Nilam Puri to its original village in Kampung Laut was carried out under the Kampung Laut Redevelopment project as a ‘Heritage Village’, which included two other components, the Laman Warisan Seni and Laman Warisan Serunding.
Baidzawi said some of the original artifacts of the Kampung Laut Mosque which were kept at other mosques, had also been returned to the mosque.
They included the “bedok” from Muhammadi Mosque, “kolah” from Masjid Baru Kampung Laut and the pulpit, which is believed to be the oldest in the country, from Masjid Lama Pasir Pekan, he added.
Baidzawi is confident that the relocation of the Kampung Laut Mosque back to the village would not be detrimental to the mosque, like being affected by the floods as it used to, as it was now on higher ground.
The Drainage and Irrigation Department had also built a retaining wall along the nearby river bank, he added.
Meanwhile, the project manager for the re-installation of the Kampung Laut Mosque structure, Mazni Mahmod said the process of dismantling and re-installing the mosque structure was done carefully and meticulously according to the guidelines set by the National Heritage Department and monitored by a certified conservator.
“From the outside, the architecture of this mosque looks ordinary and just an old building, but when the original components were dismantled, you will be amazed with carpentry work of the olden days, which is unique.
“This project is something one cannot learn in school or university, hence, the need to maintain its architecture for the benefit of future generation,” he said, adding that nearly 100 individuals, including some renowned Kelantan carpenters were involved in reassembling the mosque.
Mazni said they also used the tagging system so that each wood component that was dismantled could be recorded before they were reassembled.
Meanwhile, Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob described the success of the relocation of the Kampung Laut Mosque as ‘Sireh Pulang ke Gagang’ (bringing it back home), despite the various challenges, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said the state government would provide the necessary assistance to the agencies involved towards making the Kampung Laut Mosque one of the a World Heritage Site under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“Kampung Laut Mosque is a historic mosque with valuable heritage value. Gazetting it as a World Heritage Site under UNESCO will not only raise its historic value, but will also attract more international and local tourists,” he added.