Enhancement works to begin at century-old Al-Huda Mosque in Bukit Timah

The Al-Huda Mosque in Bukit Timah, a modest structure still standing at Jalan Haji Alias even after a century, will undergo a much needed upgrading from June 2. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN 
The Al-Huda Mosque in Bukit Timah, a modest structure still standing at Jalan Haji Alias even after a century, will undergo a much needed upgrading from June 2. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN 

SINGAPORE - The Al-Huda Mosque in Bukit Timah, a modest structure still standing at Jalan Haji Alias even after a century, will undergo a much needed upgrading from June 2.

This is the latest enhancement of the 109-year-old place of worship in almost 50 years, and its age is starting to show.

Its mosque office is operating out of a container, ladies pray in a temporary space created by cordoning off an area with curtains, and the paint is peeling in certain places.

But when the $1.1 million works are completed by end-2014, worshippers will get to say their prayers in a larger and airier mosque with new facilities, such as a brick-and-mortar office and a proper prayer space for ladies.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said the mosque will remain open during the enhancement works, which will last about seven months.

With the upgrade, Al-Huda Mosque will also be able to accommodate 350 worshippers - compared to 200 now.

It will also have more elderly-friendly facilities, such as ramps and a handicapped washroom.

But the new facilities will not come at the expense of the mosque's identity, Muis said, and a gallery showcasing Al-Huda's heritage will be part of the building.

The enhancement, which forms the first phase of a project to revitalise the wakaf land the mosque sits on, was launched by Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim on Friday afternoon. A wakaf is property or land bequeathed by wealthy families or individuals for religious or charitable uses.

The 2,828.63 sqm wakaf land also comprises a plot adjacent to the mosque, which will be developed into private housing with a 99-year lease after mosque renovations are completed.

The development of the private property comprises the second phase of the project, which is undertaken by Warees, the property arm of Muis, under its Wakaf Revitalisation Scheme.

Under the scheme, Warees is advancing the $1.1 million cost of the mosque upgrading from the anticipated proceeds of the development of the residential units, which should be completed in 2016.