whats-on-penang-kapitanProblem solved: A view of the Kapitan Keling Mosque in George Town. Restoration works at the mosque have already been completed.

GEORGE TOWN: The constant leaking and flooding at the 211-year-old Kapitan Keling Mosque is now a thing of the past following extensive renovation on its copper dome.

“We tried to fix the problem several times over the last 12 years. However, months later, it always recurred,” mosque management committee chairman Meera Mydin Mastan said.

He said it was especially disruptive during the fasting month when the state’s oldest mosque was packed with the faithful.

“When it rained, we had to roll back the prayer mats and people were not able to pray in the centre of the mosque,” he said.

Things began to look up after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop visited the mosque several years ago and suggested that the Kapitan Keling Mosque apply for the George Town Grants Programme (GTGP), a seed-funding initiative for urban rejuvenation projects within the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site.

GTGP programme manager Veronica Liew said a thorough condition survey of the dome and roof of the building found that the slates of copper cladding had been fastened with iron nails.

“The dissimilar metals caused corrosion around the nails,” she said.

She said the corrosion had created holes in the dome and roof, allowing water to seep through and damage the bituminous water-proofing layer of the dome.

She said the restoration work grant amounted to RM1mil while an additional RM180,000 was granted for the condition survey.

Meera Mydin said work had started early last year and was completed in August.

“Aside from correcting defects, the restoration team also built a galvanised catwalk to and around the dome to make it more accessible,” he said.

The Kapitan Keling Mosque is open to visitors daily from 11am to 7pm, except during Friday prayers which are held from 1pm to 2.30pm.

The mosque will also play host to the 2012 Indian Muslim Cultural and Heritage Celebration on July 7 in conjunction with the George Town Festival.