The National Mosque of Malaysia is located in Kuala Lumpur. It has a capacity of 15,000 people and is situated among 13 acres (53,000 m2) of beautiful gardens. The original structure was designed by a three-person team from the Public Works Department - UK architect Howard Ashley, and Malaysians Hisham Albakri and Baharuddin Kassim. The mosque was built in 1965 on the site of a church, the Venning Road Brethren Gospel Hall which had stood there since 1922 but appropriated by the Malaysian government. The mosque is a bold and modern approach in reinforced concrete, symbolic of the aspirations of a then newly-independent Malaysia.
Major development programs in areas of economy, social and architecture were actively implemented in line with the new government. The programs were also to portray new progressive culture and achieved democracy. Therefore, on 30 July 1957, in the meeting of the Federal Executive Council an idea to build a national mosque as a symbol of the country’s independence was mooted. In another meeting on 5 March 1958, Chief Ministers of the eleven states in the Federation of Malaya, a proposal was made to name the mosque Masjid Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, in recognition of Yang Teramat Mulia Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj’s efforts in guiding the country to gaining independence. However, Tunku refused this honour; on the contrary he named it Masjid Negara in thanksgiving for the country’s peaceful independence without bloodshed.