The Penang State Mosque (GPS: 5.40677, 100.30061) or Masjid Negeri Pulau Pinang, is the biggest mosque in Penang. It is located at the junction of Jalan Air Itam and Jalan Masjid Negeri. When I originally wrote this, I thought that it was designed by the great Brazillian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, who passed away on 5 December 2012, just ten days from his 105th birthday. (Niemeyer was the architect who designed the Brazilian national cathedral in Brasilia, Brazil, among with many of the buildings in the Brazilian capital city. In recognition with its architecture, UNESCO inscribed Brasília as a World Heritage Site in 1987.)
The Penang State Mosque was constructed in the 1970s, bearing Western Modernist as well as Malay elements in the design. I learned that, contrary to my initial thought, it was not the work of Niemeyer, but rather a Filipino architect by the name of Efren Brindez Paz. Occupying a 4.6-hectare site, the state mosque took four years to build, and can accommodate 5,000 worshippers at one sitting, making it the biggest mosque in the state.
View of the Penang State Mosque with its minaret (23 January, 2005)
11 Devember 2012 The Public Works Department (JKR) confirmed that the mosque was designed by Efren Brindez Paz. Mr Paz had designed a number of famous mosques in West Asia before I also learned that the contractor was Messrs. Loh Thow Yoong Sdn Bhd, and that the building was erected at a cost of M$5 million.1 The cost of construction came to around M$5 million of which M$2,104,601 came from the Federal Government, M$1.5 million from the State Government, and M$1,245,264 from public donations.
19 October 2012 I was told by someone researching on Oscar Niemeyer told me that Niemeyer actually did not design the Penang State Mosque or was he ever involved in it. The mosque must have been designed by the Filipino architect.
7 December 2012 I was informed by another person by email that the name of the Filipino architect who designed the Penang State Mosque is Efren Brindez Pez, who worked for the Public Works Department (JKR) in Penang in the early seventies. His contract was extended by the Prime Minister specifically so that he could finish the job of designing the mosque.
Another view of the Penang State Mosque (23 January, 2005)
How to go to the Masjid Negeri Pulau Pinang
The Masjid Negeri Pulau Pinang is located at the junction of Jalan Air Itam and Green Lane. The nearest bus stop is along Jalan Air Itam. It is served by Rapid Penang bus 201, 202, 203, 204, 306 and 502.
The main entrance to the compound is located on a driveway entered through Jalan Air Itam. Being a functional mosque, the prayer halls are not open to non-Muslim visitors.
Location of the Penang State Mosque on the map
Buku Cenderamata Perasmian Masjid Negeri dated 29 August, 1980
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