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Sungai Buloh MRT stop — the station with a poignant past
Monday 6 Nov 2017
Kuala Lumpur
A collaboration between RapidKL, The Malay Mail and RebeccaSaw.com
A view of the MRT Sungai Buloh station from the MRT feeder bus hub. — Pictures by Ham Abu Bakar
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The afternoon ride on the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) from Pasar Seni in Kuala Lumpur towards its last stop in Sungai Buloh, Selangor was not only pleasant but a surprisingly scenic one too. From the elevated rail lines you could see a bird’s eye view of beautiful bungalows as the train made its way to the Jalan Semantan station in upscale Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur.

And as it zoomed towards the Phileo Damansara stop, the ponds and immaculately-groomed lawns of the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) were pleasing to the eye. Further up, between the Kwasa Damansara (a new township that is being developed) and Kampung Selamat MRT stops, natural lakes and lush forests were a sight to behold.

As for the MRT Sungai Buloh station, it is a huge, three-level modern complex that’s connected with the Sungai Buloh railway station.

Launched last mid-December, the stop is the northern terminus of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line. The 51km track with 32 stops begins in Sungai Buloh (north west of Kuala Lumpur) and runs through the city centre before ending in Kajang, Selangor (south-east of Kuala Lumpur).

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    Located along the Kuala Selangor highway, Sungai Buloh (Malay for bamboo river) has a rather despairing history.

    It was once shunned by many because it was a refuge for those afflicted with leprosy, a chronic infectious disease that causes disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage. The idea for the settlement was initiated in the late 1920s by Dr Ernest Travers, an Englishman who felt a self-sustaining community was more humane than confining leprosy patients in an enclosed facility.
    Said to have been the second biggest leprosy outpost in the world after the Culion Island Settlement in the Philippines, the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Settlement was officially opened in August 1930. Dubbed the Valley of Hope, the 230-hectare settlement had over 2,000 inmates at its peak. Here, they led lives like any other and many took part in activities such as gardening as the land was fertile and there were streams running through the settlement. They grew plants to sell and that was how Sungai Buloh earned a reputation as a horticultural hotspot.
    It was the settlement’s director, Dr KM Reddy who, in the 1950s and 1960s, encouraged the public to accept and support the patients by purchasing their plants. When an effective cure was found via the multi-drug therapy or MDT and the social stigma against lepers subsided, Sungai Buloh saw a surge in the number of visitors.
    The many nurseries in the area were, and still are, an attraction for many because of the variety of plants available at palatable prices. Some are tagged at half the price compared to those sold in the city.
    With a history that dates back to more than 80 years ago, the former leprosy colony is being turned into a place of heritage. Officially renamed the National Leprosy Control Centre in 1969, the place currently comprises a cluster of old buildings with nurseries all around.
    Despite being an area that was once avoided at all costs, Sungai Buloh is now home to several swanky, gated residences such as Sierramas, Valencia, Damansara Sentral, Sunway Rahman Putra and Bukit Rahman Putra.
    The ELC International School is also in this town and is located next to the MRT station. Apart from the MRT, the interchange station caters to the KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) Komuter (Tanjung Malim-Port Klang route) and KTM ETS (Electric Train Service which has stops in Gemas, Ipoh and Padang Besar, to name a few) services.
    A RapidKL feeder bus at the Sungai Buloh MRT station.
    Part of the MRT Sungai Buloh station’s common concourse area.

    The station has two entrances namely A and B. The former which is the main access point to the common concourse serving both MRT and KTM commuters on the first floor can be accessed via an escalator, elevator or staircase. These are at ground level close to where the MRT feeder bus hub and passenger drop-off points are.

    Entrance B is located at the south side of the common concourse. It is linked to a staircase down to the Kuala Lumpur-bound side of busy Jalan Kuala Selangor as well as a pedestrian overhead bridge across Jalan Kuala Selangor for access to the Kuala Selangor-bound side of the road.
    Ticket vending machines and ticketing offices for both services plus two retail outlets consisting of a bakery and a convenience store are located on the common concourse.

    Feeder buses from the station take you to several housing areas, villages and places in and near Sungai Buloh. These include Hospital Sungai Buloh, UiTM (Universiti Teknologi Mara) Sungai Buloh, Kampung Melayu Sungai Buloh, Jalan Paya Jaras Tengah, Persiaran Bukit Rahman Putra 1 and Prima Damansara.

    To get to the former leprosy settlement take bus number T100.

    A six-storey Park n’ Ride facility is also available with 1,236 bays for cars and 258 spots for motorcycles. 

    * For more gastronomic adventures — keep up with Rebecca on www.RebeccaSaw.com and instagram.com/wackybecky.
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