GEORGE TOWN: An Indo-Muslim congregation in Leith Street here is up in arms against the setting up of a hotel next door, stressing the hotel could become a haven for sinners.
Benggali Mosque qariah chairman Prof Dr Mohd Omar Ab Kadir said the conversion of an unoccupied five-storey building into a hotel may also be illegal.
“A 140-room hotel would require 140 parking bays, two bus lay-bys and two entry-exit points.
“The existing building, which fell into disuse in 1993, is believed to have been abandoned after the owners did not comply with the regulations set. It is learnt the building was originally planned as an office suite.
“We already have transgenders and foreigners carrying out immoral activities after 10pm right in front or beside the mosque. This already defiles the sanctity of our mosque,” he told reporters after Friday prayers today.
“Kami sudah bosan dengan maksiat dekat masjid!” (“We are fed up of the immoral activities near the mosque!”)
Earlier, some 500 people gathered outside the mosque, protesting against the conversion of the building into a hotel.
They carried placards that denounced the hotel plans and chanted “Jangan tindas kami” (“Don’t oppress us”).
Meanwhile, Omar, who also teaches at the School of Industrial Technology in Universiti Sains Malaysia, said the hotel plan was ill conceived.
He said the narrow roads in the area was not the right place for a new hotel to operate and would lead to traffic congestion.
“The traffic is unbearable during the weekends, let alone during Friday prayers.”
Omar called on the city council to rescind the approval of the hotel immediately, considering the negative effects it would have around the area.
A Penang Island City Council spokesperson said the committee’s grouses had been taken into account and it would respond to the matter soon. -FMT