NEW SARAWAK TRIBUNE: After waiting patiently for two years, more than 1,000 residents of Kampung Gersik, Kuching finally have a newly built two-storey concrete surau.

Named as ‘Surau Hidayatul Rahman’, it was officially put into use yesterday. The BN candidate for Santubong, Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he appreciated the patience and understanding shown by the villagers, who had all this while been making use of a private house as a temporary surau.

Addressing the villagers during the soft launching and handing over ceremony of “Surau Hidayatul Rahman” from the State Religious Department to the villagers yesterday, Junaidi said that apart from being a house for praying, a Surau or mosque is also a centre for religious activities.

“All this while, the government has realised the importance of either a Surau or a Mosque in the vicinity of a Muslim community and has been trying very hard to provide these facilities for the people. “In Santubong alone, there are still several suraus and mosques under construction, such as the RM3.4 million mosque in Santubong, the RM2.4 million mosque in Muara Tebas, the RM500,000 surau in Kampung Bau and others,” said Junaidi.

Wan Habib Syed Mahmud, who gave away his land as wakaf (giving up one’s property in the name of Islam) to build the surau, explained that his little contribution was a sincere gesture for the people of Kampung Gersik, the village he has been staying in all his life. “This is the least I could do for the villagers here and as my contribution to Islam.

I hope that with this beautiful surau built by the government, we can all perform our daily prayers together, just like in the good old days,” said an emotional Habib, who was seen wiping away his tears. ‘Surau Hidayatul Rahman’ can accommodate 350 worshippers at one time. Work on the building commenced on 6 May, 2011 and initially was expected to be completed in March last year. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the project was delayed for a year.

Initially, the plan was to upgrade the village surau into a mosque with an allocation of RM2.25 million. However, the project had to be scaled down to RM1.3 million with plans to build a big mosque at Darul Hannah in the near future.