Today, December 13th, 2010 (8 Muharram, 1432H) marks as an historic day for me. I had the opportunity to visit the Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin in Putrajaya for the first time. The famed masjid is nicknamed as “Masjid Besi” or “Iron Mosque” due to the design and structure of the building and the silver metallic dome at the top. The mosque looks grand from afar. But lo and behold, I was taken aback upon entering it. The maintenance of the mosque is in a mess! Honestly, it really is. The mosque being officially commissioned by the Agong, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin about six months ago on June 11th, 2010, is in a state of disrepair. It is beyond belief for a 6-month old building to be in such a poor condition. From the outside I thought I could be proud of the mosque, alas I was disheartened by what I saw upon entering it. I wonder why Malaysians are very poor in the discipline of building maintenance. This mosque is supposed to be a place of worship for Muslims and a major tourist attraction for Godsake!
Here are some setbacks that I observed:
1. There were no conspicuous signage directing to the main entrance of the mosque from outside. I ended up going via the car park building opposite the mosque. My goodness! The car park was very dark, gloomy and DIRTY! Rubbish were strewn everywhere and there was no sign of it being recently cleaned.
2. At the main entrance, there was no welcoming signage as if visitors are not welcomed, enter at your own will and risk. However, the name of the mosque is proudly displayed on the wall but the lighting was bad and the letterings just blended with the wall. A spotlight or background lighting is highly imperative here. The advertising streamers on the left and right of the wall do not help to beautify the mosque at all. The management should make do without these unsightly commercial promotional aids.
3. I took the flight of stairs up since the escalator was not functioning. Imagine a disabled person visiting this mosque. How on earth could he go two levels up by himself to reach the main prayer hall?
4. Upon reaching the top of the stairs I was welcomed with a pool of spilt coffee stains. I kid you not! The photograph below is the evidence. Just outside on the patio, you will see a small pond which has never seen proper maintenance. It has now turned into a mosquito breeding ground, complete with molds and algae.
5. The passage to the ablution hall/room was dimly lighted. Never mind, energy conservation in progress I presume. At my age, I found it hard to lift my legs into the sink. Why do they make it so hard for frail people and people with disabilities beats me. I have NEVER come across a mosque that provides sinks only for you to do your ablution. You will have to lift your legs rather high in order to wash them in the sink. Why can’t they provide the normal water taps on a wall for ease of use?
6. The prayer hall is fine. Nothing grand here except for the unique Quranic excerpts inscribed in gold on the glass wall in front. Normally, you’d feel overwhelmed with emotion upon entering a mosque, but sad to say, it is not so with this one. Maybe it was just me.
7. From the prayer hall, you can see the scenery outside because the mosque has no side walls blocking your view. To the right in the distant you can see another mosque, the “Pink Mosque” or “Masjid Putera”. To the left, you can see one of the beautiful bridges of Putrajaya spanning across the lake.
8. From the main prayer hall, if you walk to the side of the mosque (I only went to the right side) you will retreat in disgust. Rain water is found clogged on the floor and it looks like it has NEVER been cleaned. The whole stretch of the floor from the front to the rear of the mosque is choked and molds are spotted everywhere. I felt so ashamed of myself. Luckily there were no foreign tourists anywhere near me at that particular moment. How on earth did they leave the floor in that filthy situation?
9. On my way out, I spotted large stains on the marble flooring. I was busy taking photographs when I was approached by a man who introduced himself as the clerk-of-works for the contractor of the mosque since day one the construction began about 4 years ago. He told me that the whole marble tiles will be replaced and it will take a couple of months to complete. The stains were as a result of inexperienced foreign construction workers spilling acid to clean it. But it left permanent stains instead of becoming sparkling clean.
I left feeling sorry and dispirited at the state of maintenance or the lack of it the mosque is in. The building is officially just 6-months old, and taking into account the lack of maintenance of the mosque, I wonder how it will look like in the near future say in a year or a couple of years time.
Cleanliness is godliness. Islam promotes cleanliness and wants its adherent to live in a healthy condition. Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin is a big disgrace to Islam and to the nation. Enough said.