Tuesday, September 4, 2007

News: (NST)Blow to heritage: Tearing down hopes of saving leper settlement

Tiles have been removed from the roof of the old prison which now stands bare. The external walls surrounding the old prison quarters have already been demolished.
Tiles have been removed from the roof of the old prison which now stands bare. The external walls surrounding the old prison quarters have already been demolished.

SUNGAI BULOH: Historical buildings at the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement are being torn down even before a decision to develop the area has been reached.

Datuk Prof Dr Zuraina Majid says site has historical value
Datuk Prof Dr Zuraina Majid says site has historical value
A perimeter wall at the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement has been demolished, while roof tiles on some buildings have been removed.
A perimeter wall at the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement has been demolished, while roof tiles on some buildings have been removed.
The demolition exercise began three days ago, although negotiations between several ministries, Universiti Teknologi Mara and other parties to preserve the settlement were still going on.

National Heritage Commissioner Datuk Professor Dr Zuraina Majid rushed to the site yesterday on getting information that buildings were being demolished and tried to prevent workers from continuing.

"They should not begin demolition while negotiations are going on. All related parties are seeking a balance between heritage preservation and the need for development.

"We want an amicable solution. Our main concern is preserving the site, which is of historical value," she said.
Among the ministries involved in the negotiations are the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry, the Health Ministry, the Tourism Ministry and the Housing and Local Government Ministry.

Non-governmental organisations and concerned individuals are supporting efforts to preserve the site, which was a leprosarium for more than 70 years. The key buildings were built in the early 1900s.

Centre for Modern Architecture Studies in Southeast Asia researcher Lim Yong Long, who had studied the settlement, said the site had significant historical value because it used a garden city concept to create a modern community.

"The concept boasts extensive multiculturalism from the different cultures and races, to the places of worship evident till today."

Leprosy settlement committee member Lee Chor Seng said 45 lepers on the east section would face eviction if the demolition continues.

"In this community, there are 306 patients between the ages of 60 and 80 who have lived here all their lives. Many are too old to move around and depend on the sales of their plants for income," said the 70-year-old resident.

Lee hopes the government would intervene and save the site not only for historical reasons but to consider the plight of the people who live in some of these buildings.

It is learnt that the 16ha east section of the settlement would be redeveloped for a Universiti Teknologi Mara hospital. The east section is believed to be the oldest and most historically precious site.

About 10 workers were seen removing the tiles from the roof of a former prison and two chalets, which were once inhabited by lepers. The external walls surrounding the old prison quarters have already been demolished.

The site was the pioneer leper settlement that used a self sustainability concept and also a reputable research centre for leprosy. It used to be the second largest such settlement in the world.

Source: NSTonline

Editorial: (NST) Conserving a community

WHEN less than two months ago Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek acknowledged the historical value of the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement and announced that the cabinet had agreed to the formation of a working committee — which included representatives from the Higher Education and Culture, Arts and Heritage ministries — to look into the matter of turning it into a heritage site and a tourist attraction, it seemed assurance enough that there would be a stay of execution on the plans to develop a medical campus.
It was, therefore, more than a little shocking that the walls of some buildings had been torn down and tiles had been removed from the roof of the old prison. With so many parties involved, it could just be a matter of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. In which case, while the damage has been done and what has been destroyed has been irrevocably lost, it is not too late to save the rest. There is no reason why the confusion cannot be speedily straightened out, as appears to be the case now that the order has been made to stop the levelling.

But this does not appear to be just a problem of a demolition that has jumped the administrative gun. Sadly, this is not an isolated case. More often than not, heritage conservation has consisted of valiant rearguard actions against the destruction of the built historical landscape rather than the long-term commitment to protect the legacy of the past. Like the stigma that still seems to stick to leprosy, this appears to be another case that reflects an aversion to heritage preservation.

Just as bad are the mutations and modifications in the name of conservation which compromise the authenticity of heritage buildings and sites and devalue their historical, social and cultural significance. Bearing in mind that the 77-year-old settlement is still home to a self-sufficient society of patients from diverse backgrounds, races and religions who have been living there since they were young, growing flowers, fruits and vegetables, and developing strong bonds of friendship and community with each other, it becomes even more imperative that it continues to become a living testimony to its social as well as its medical heritage. And this should include preserving the nurseries which are very much a part of the settlement’s identity. It is vital to maintain the spirit and substance of the community and its way of life even as plans are made to redevelop the settlement.

Source: NSTonline

News: (TheStar)Cabinet to discuss demolition of buildings in Sungai Buloh

KUALA LUMPUR: The Cabinet will discuss the demolition of buildings in the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Centre on Wednesday to seek the best solution, said Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said the Health Ministry and his ministry had agreed that Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) should not be rushing into abolishing all the buildings at the Leprosarium.

"On the technical part, it is too late for us to save the buildings that have been pulled down. However, the Heritage Commissioner has been asked to do an assessment on what has been demolished and what we can still save," he said.

He said the lesson from the episode was that certain quarters should not act hastily in demolishing old buildings, with historical elements, as it would cause the country to lose part of its history.

However, he said the negotiations between Health, Culture, Arts and Heritage and Higher Education Ministries were necessary as the country should also not allowed itself to lose out in development just because it wanted to keep a heritage site.

The Heritage Commissioner issued a stop work order on Monday to stop further demolition of the building until a decision is made as to whether to preserve it as a heritage site.

The order was to protect the site pending discussion between the three ministries.

The leprosy centre opened in 1930 and was once the Commonwealth’s largest and most modern facility for the research and treatment of the disease with up to 3,000 patients.

It is learnt that 16ha of the east section of the settlement would be redeveloped for a UiTM hospital.

Source: www.thestar.com.my

News: (星洲日報)文化部長將與2部長共商 麻瘋院課題5日內閣討論

updated:2007-09-04 20:40:24 MYT






“文化部和衛生部皆同意瑪拉工藝大學不必倉促拆除雙溪毛糯麻瘋病院所有的建築物,畢竟有部份的確能夠保留作為國家醫藥歷史的遺產,校方應該跟我們討論 。”








他認為,假如政府一早鑒定有關建築物的部份地方必須保留作文物遺產,今天就不會出現這種局面。 星洲日報•2007.09.04)

News: (星洲日報)指獲衛部批准拆院建樓 瑪拉工大堅持立場

updated:2007-09-04 20:39:36 MYT





他是針對報章報導,指上述地段還未獲准發展,即動工拆除地段上的歷史建築物的事件作出澄清。 星洲日報•2007.09.04)

News: (星洲日報)黃錦鴻:發出禁令後 拆痳瘋院者將被控

updated:2007-09-04 20:38:31 MYT















參與這次特殊中小學生國慶活動,共有來自聯邦直轄區19間中小學250名學生參與。 星洲日報•2007.09.04)

News: (星洲日報)李家全:涉數部門需時間協調 拆麻瘋院帶上國會

updated:2007-09-04 09:53:12 MYT















由於李初成及其餘居民的情緒一度激動,李家全也答應居民會儘快協助他們解決問題。 星洲日報•2007.09.04)

News: (光明日報)麻瘋院或列文化遺產 承包商悄悄拆牆


updated:2007-09-02 20:04:33 MYT











Source: www.guangming.com.my

News: 獨立新聞在線系列報導

三麻风病人接搬迁通知 麻风病院再陷拆迁愁云 (314) 15.8.2007 4:23 pm
保留麻风病院方案未出炉 玛大承包商动工惹怒病人 (667) 14.8.2007 7:32 pm
周日组团考察麻风病院 隆雪华青欢迎公众参加 (313) 6.8.2007 11:52 am
麻风病院创造人类隔离模式 学者冀与政府沟通保留方案 (384) 24.7.2007 7:13 pm
双溪毛糯麻风病院应完整保存 古迹学者促政府公布发展详情 (595) 22.7.2007 7:32 pm
下周一抢救希望之谷! 探讨麻风病院保存价值 (645) 19.7.2007 11:27 am
双溪毛糯麻风病院意义非凡 月底恐遭玛拉大学工程破坏 (1593) 17.7.2007 9:24 pm

News: (當今大馬)居民盼卫生部保留麻风病院 李家全亲临巡视但未作承诺

07年9月3日 傍晚7:37


继文化、艺术及文物部副部长黄锦鸿之后,李家全在今天下午3时与双溪毛糯麻风病院院长贾斯密医生(Dr Jasmeet Singh)会面,并前往上周末面临强拆命运的东院进行约长半小时的巡视,以了解该麻风病院的整体情况和所遭受的破坏。












News: (當今大馬)强拆麻风院承包商“躲迷藏” 国家遗产局总监两度折返力阻

07年9月2日 下午5:41














News: (當今大馬)国庆隔日承包商强拆东院遭阻 双溪毛糯麻风院命运周三定夺

07年9月1日 晚上8:23



今 日下午两点开始,玛拉工艺大学工程承包商tunas jaya 派出一辆铲泥机(神手)和约10名工人,企图前往强拆被列入为医学院大楼范围的双溪毛糯麻风病院东院。不过在当地居民、建筑学者林永隆和白小保校工委会副 秘书庄白绮的大力阻止之下,承包商不得不暂时停工,只拆除了东院专为惩罚犯规的麻风病人而设的监狱的围墙。


闻讯而至的麻风病院院长贾斯密医生(Dr Jasmeet Singh)以及雪州卫生部总监洪金定,在与承包商负责人会晤之后达至妥协,只允许他们拆除监狱附近空置的几个房子,暂时解除了东院遭全面拆除的噩运。


Elizabeth Cardosa: There's hope for the valley of hope
The original Sungai Buloh leper asylum.
The original Sungai Buloh leper asylum.

IF any of my friends in the Klang Valley want to buy plants, they are likely to drive to Sungai Buloh, about 25km from Kuala Lumpur.

Young and vibrant. The leprosarium's cadet corps get into line in 1969.
Young and vibrant. The leprosarium's cadet corps get into line in 1969.
Many of the commercial nurseries which thrive there are within the Sungai Buloh Leprosarium, which can trace its history back to the mid 1920s.

From the earliest times, those suffering from leprosy (Hansen’s disease) were ostracised by society and forced to live in inhumane conditions.

Lepers were segregated in compounds with fences surrounded by barbed wire, as if they were criminals.

In the 1940 Straits Times Annual, Harry Miller’s article titled "Lepers at Sungai Buloh … A Model Settlement in Malaya" informs us that of the 3,000,000 lepers in the world then, 2,000 lived at the Sungai Buloh settlement. The inhabitants were a mixture of races:
"Chinese, most of the races of India, Malays, Javanese, Thais, Eurasians and a sprinkling of other nationalities.

"They form a big family of men, women and children with different languages, religions and customs isolated by law, bound by the common fetter of leprosy, yet living in complete harmony."

Back in 1922, Dr Ernst Travers (after whom Jalan Travers is named) took charge of the leper asylum in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.

What he found was 400 men, women and children living in appalling conditions, with no clothing, blankets or food.

He offered them compassion, treatment, clean bedding and clothes — turning around a wretched situation, wracked with daily riots and disturbances, into one of hope.

It was his advocacy that was to see the lepers transferred from the asylum in Kuala Lumpur to a new settlement at Sungai Buloh.

When the settlement was officially opened in 1930, it was the largest and most modern leprosarium in the British Commonwealth, said to be the "most impressive because of its scenic setting and its modern buildings and facilities" (www.leprosyhistory.org).

The Sungai Buloh Leprosarium was also a noted centre for research.

From as early as the 1930s, drug trials and development of alternative drugs and other scientific investigations were carried out until the early 1980s.

Among these were investigations, from the 1940s through the 1960s, into the first successful multi-drug treatment and the development of a new regime for leprosy which has cured millions of patients.

And this model of a self-contained settlement had a profound influence on the design of other leper settlements in other parts of the world.

Anthony Joshua-Raghavar in Leprosy in Malaysia. Past, Present and Future (1983) calls the Sungai Buloh Settlement a model of modern human settlement planning.

Clear zones for housing, social facilities and medical facilities, with modern sewerage, safe water supply, and buildings which were functional and modest, were constructed.

In response to the tropical climate, deep overhanging roofs and good ventilation provided more comfort for the lepers, who were very sensitive to bright light and high temperatures.

Two sections were divided by a hill with forested slopes and the reservoir.

The west, for sick and disabled patients who required care, and the east which was the "kampung" for those who were healthy and could live independently, working the allotments which they were given to grow fruit trees and vegetables, and raise animals.

There were also communal facilities — a school, churches, mosques, Indian and Chinese temples, grocery shops, workshops, etc.

Originally covering an area of 230ha, it was reduced to 120ha when the new Sungai Buloh Hospital was built, together with the nursing college and new highway access.

In 1940, the settlement had several social clubs, one for women to play both outdoor and indoor games, one for Indians and another for Chinese and even an English speaking club.

A drama club, a book club, educational facilities, and food and sundry shops were found here, and there were even special currency notes to eliminate the possibility of infection spreading outside of the settlement.

The settlement was managed by the lepers themselves, working as clerks, police, gardeners, watchmen, dispensers, dressers and nurses.

It was a self-supporting and empowered community whose inhabitants could live with self-respect and dignity.

Today, one still passes through a small gateway to enter this township of gardens and nurseries. Homes are neatly laid out along narrow streets meandering through the area, but only a few hundred inhabitants still remain.

In the book, Valley of Hope (2006), Joyce Wong Chau Yin and co-author Phang Siew Sia record the story of the settlement and its residents. Wong’s parents were patients there and she was born there and grew up nearby.

In an interview, Wong says: "Sungai Buloh is a one-of-a-kind place, probably in the whole world. Very seldom can we find such a well-organised, self-sufficient community.

"It is a repository of stories of patients who have struggled to live through both the physical and psychological sufferings caused by leprosy.

"As such, it is a very important part of the history of leprosy in this country as well as the world."

The Sungai Buloh Leprosarium represents a part of our medical and social heritage which, sadly, most of us know nothing about.

In May this year, Badan Warisan Malaysia awarded a Mubin Sheppard Memorial Prize Measured Drawings Grant to a group of students from Taylor’s College to document a selected number of buildings in the Sungai Buloh Leprosarium.

During their research, supervising lecturer Lim Yong Long (to whom I am indebted for much of the research for this article) learnt that the eastern section of the settlement is to be demolished soon and the area is to be redeveloped into new facilities for the Universiti Teknologi Mara Medical Faculty.

On July 10 this year, Lim submitted a nomination form for the settlement to be included in the National Heritage Register.

His passionate appeal appears to have caught the sympathetic ear of the Minister of Health who is reported to have said that his ministry had decided to preserve some parts of the centre because of its historical significance and there were plans to "turn part of the centre’s heritage buildings into a heritage site ... (and) a tourist attraction" (NST, July 21).

With this stay of execution, I hope that a cultural heritage impact assessment is carried out on the whole site to help make informed decisions on what is best in this redevelopment plan; that the stakeholders, most especially the inhabitants and their carers, are consulted and their views taken cognisence of.

Could, for example, the original dwellings be preserved and converted into accommodation, the wards turned into care centres for the surrounding communities, the existing religious facilities maintained and used by the local population?

For this to be a viable and vibrant tourist attraction, the historical, scientific, social and cultural significance of this model centre for treatment and research in leprosy must retain its authenticity and its heritage values.

It is reassuring to know that this settlement will continue to be a living testimony of the story of leprosy in Malaysia.

The writer is executive director of Badan Warisan Malaysia. She can be contacted at heritage@badanwarisan.org.my.

Source: www.nst.com.my

News: (TheStar)Four chalets already torn down despite Cabinet directive

PETALING JAYA: The Sungai Buloh Leprosy Centre is under siege with four chalets already demolished and the roof tiles of the former prison building being removed to make way for a UiTM campus building.

This is despite the Cabinet directive that discussions between all parties must continue to preserve the site while allowing some development.

The contractor hired by UiTM demolished two chalets last Saturday before Selangor Health director Dr Ang Kim Teng went to the site to order them to stop.

According to Lim Yong Long – an advocate for the preservation of the centre – the contractor had broken his promise to Dr Ang that they would wait for a Cabinet decision on Wednesday.

Heritage gone: Demolition work being done at the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Centre yesterday.
Yesterday morning, the contractor demolished two more chalets and were removing roof tiles from the former prison that used to house convicted lepers, said Lim.

This time, Heritage Commissioner Datuk Zurainah Majid was alerted.

Lim said that a heated discussion ensued, with the contractor asking Zurainah for orders in “black and white” to stop work.

“Part of the settlement has been earmarked for heritage purposes. It is this very part that the contractor is demolishing to make way for a UiTM medical hospital,” said Zurainah.

“The Cabinet has instructed that all parties continue discussions, so I do not know why they have gone ahead,” she said, adding that the contractor told her they were under orders from UiTM to continue.

Zurainah said discussions with the committee in charge of the preservation of the settlement would continue today.

It was reported two weeks ago that eviction notices were served on some nursery operators at the centre after they had stopped an attempted demolition of the former prison building on Aug 13.

In July, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek had said that part of the leprosy centre would be turned into a heritage site and tourist attraction.

Source: www.thestar.com.my

Comment: Colony is worth preserving

I READ “Living legacy” (StarTwo, Aug 21) with great interest. I am aware that the debate on preserving the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement started in July, but your article was an eye-opener on the true significance of the place.

I strongly believe that the whole colony is worth preserving, and the communities that live there and their culture need to be kept as authentic as possible, in order to maintain the true meaning and spirit of this settlement, for future generations to appreciate.

If the present generation is not fully aware of the existence of such an important site, just imagine what historical “emptiness” we would be passing on to our young if places like this settlement were to come to an abrupt end.

It would be a great loss to let the structures just deteriorate with time, or worse, be demolished on the lame excuse of building some structures that could be easily accommodated on other sites.

Preserving heritage sites must surely be as important as the management of modern infrastructures. Therefore, I hope that the government will put more emphasis on keeping invaluable sites intact, even as it makes plans to build new projects.

Moreover, careful planning must be made before turning any historical place into a tourist attraction. Otherwise, the essence of its heritage may become “commercialised”, not to mention the threat of environmental degradation due to overpopulation or uncontrolled human activity.

Like the effects of global warming, such losses can never be redeemed with tourism revenue, or any other revenue! – Doris, Johor

Source: www.thestar.com.my

News:(The Star)Comment: Living in leprosy nurseries

I READ with great distress the article about the eviction notices being served on some of the nursery operators at the leprosy centre in Sungai Buloh (Nurseries to make way for UiTM campusThe Star, Aug 17).

The nurseries at the Sg Buloh leprosy centre are a favourite haunt of plant lovers, gardening enthusiasts and horticulturists. These nurseries have existed for a long time and have contributed to the development of the local horticulture industry.

Many of these nurseries were run by residents of the leprosy centre. This makes it even more special because rather than just suffer in silence, they worked hard to make a decent living and to gain a sense of dignity.

This to me is a true embodiment of Malaysia Boleh. It is ironic that this eviction notice is being served just as we are gearing up for the 50th Merdeka celebration.

In an enlightened society, the Sg Buloh nurseries would have been given the necessary support to become a major horticultural centre for Malaysia.

UiTM has many branch campuses and even if it needs more space, why of all places does it have to pick this little green haven in Sg Buloh?

Even if the nurseries have to go, the brave pioneers of our horticulture industry should be given a decent place to operate.

SURIN SUKSUWAN, Lausanne, Switzerland.

source: www.thestar.com.my

Comment:(TheStar) Preserve Sg Buloh leprosarium

I READ with dismay that yet another place of heritage value has to give way to development.

I am talking about the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Centre.

If so much sentiments and consideration can be given to Universiti Malaya as a heritage site being one of the oldest institutes of higher learning, I see no reason not to give the same reverence to Sungai Buloh. It has equal importance in its rich history as a previous asylum for the leprous community and also for its contribution to medical research for leprosy and its treatment.

Let's not be too hasty to erase bit by bit the living proof of our rich history and heritage.

What is removed and destroyed will be lost forever.

There will always be land to build institutions but there will never be the same Sungai Buloh if we allow development that will mar its natural settings.

Dr TGM, Ampang, Selangor.

Source: www.thestar.com.my

News:(TheStar) Nurseries to make way for UiTM campus


source: www.thestar.com.my

EVICTION notices have been served on some of the nursery operators at the Leprosy Centre in Sungai Buloh.

It is learnt that more than 50 houses will be demolished soon to make way for the construction of the UiTM campus building in the area.

The occupants of the Leprosy Centre claim that about 10ha has been allocated to the institution by the Federal Government.

Several signboards have also been placed in the area stating that the present occupants were illegal encroachers of the government land.

Green sight: One of the nurseries that is expected to make way for development.
According to notices issued by the Federal Land and Irrigation Department Director General, the occupants of Lot 2165 have to vacate the land within 30 days. The notices are not dated.

The notices undersigned by Mohamed Kamil Mohamed of the Federal Enforcement and Asset Section on behalf of the Director General of Federal Land and Irrigation were given out to individuals considered illegal occupants or trespassers of the Federal government land.

Sungai Buloh Leprosy Centre secretary Leong Chee Kuang said the notices were only served to the three nursery operators after they had stopped an attempted demolition of the former prison building at the centre on Monday.

He said they were shocked that such things were being done to an area that was created by the Government after the land was gazetted as Reservation of Land for Public Purposes under the Land Code in 1926.

“We were told that the land had been degazetted and don’t know when this was done and why it is being done this way.

“The centre is historical. Leprosy patients and those who have recovered from the disorder and their families are staying in houses and nurseries that were provided for them by the Government,’’ he added

Chief executive officer of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Teng Ah Chai said they were taking up the matter with the government authorities and the demolition exercise on the houses had been stopped until a meeting was held between the occupants and the government.

“We feel for the patients, former patients and their families who have been staying and cultivating the land here for so many years and hope they will be fairly treated,’’ he said

One of the three nursery operators, Lai Yoon Kgen, 35, who inherited the nursery from his parents said he was shocked over the term encroacher used to describe him.

“I am disappointed as we have been paying rental to the Leprosy Council for the use of this land,’’ said Lai, adding that his Green Garden nursery covered about 0.4ha of land and that it was impossible for him to move out within the 30 days.