January 28 — 30, 2011
Illegal hostelsirk Sunwayresidents
CNY roadsafetY CampaigN
National heritage status?
Gan Pei Ling
Te long awaited promise to preserve theleprosy settlement here looks closeto being ullled but its residentsare sceptical about their uture.A spokesperson rom the Na-tional Heritage Department con-rmed that the government was inthe midst o gazetting the 81-year-old leprosarium. Once the world’ssecond largest, the settlement islikely to be recognised as a nationalheritage this year.“We are still checking with theHealth Ministry and Gombak LandOice to make sure there are nodevelopments planned in the area we want to gazette,” he said in a phone interview with
on Wednesday.However, residents who are stillin the dark said they will not cele-brate until the authorities disclosehow much o the settlement will be preserved.“here shouldn’t be anymoredevelopment, we want the remain-ing 78 hectares to be preserved en-tirely. Otherwise, residents might berequired to move again,” said LeeChor Seng, who has lived in thesettlement since 1958. He is also asettlement council member.Lee said the best Chinese NewYear gi to the residents would beor the entire 78ha were to be gazet-ted.Health Minister Datuk SeriLiow iong Lai had verbally prom-ised the residents that the settlement would be gazetted as a nationalheritage last Chinese New Year.Over the past two decades, theoriginal 230ha leprosy settlementhas been subdivided to build theSungai Buloh Hospital and medicalaculty o Universiti eknologiMara (UiM).he oldest resident, Lee SawCheng, 89, pointed out that thesettlement is the only home sheknows. She has lived there since1936.Still housing 230 leprosy survi- vors like Lee, the settlement is nowa living testament to humanity’striumph over the once incurable andearul disease.Te National Heritage Depart-ment ofcer said they do intend toconserve as much o the remaining area as possible.“Te leprosarium has historicalsignicance, especially to our medi-cal history,” he said, adding that hisdepartment is currently compiling an inventory list o the importantstructures to be conserved.Te ofcer added that once theyhave settled land issues with theHealth Ministry, it would takearound our to six months to of-cially gazette the site barring any
Residents of the settlement in Sg Buloh are hopeful their home will be recognised as a national heritage soon.
– Picture by Victor Chong
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