Monday, December 16, 2013

Crimson sunsets, broken promises
By Siti Nurbaiyah Nadzmi 

THE 16-year-old residential area in Bandar Sungai Buaya does not have monsoon drains. We never have to worry of an untoward incident happening due to an open drainage system, because Bandar Sungai Buaya is designed to be "modern" with every precinct having a distinct house design conforming to its natural landscape.
How do you get to Bandar Sungai Buaya?
From Kuala Lumpur, take the North-South highway northbound, exit at Bukit Beruntung, then head towards Perodua and Tan Chong Motor automative plant before making a right turn at Kampung Koskan and then drive straight on to Bandar Sungai Buaya. At this particular stretch, drive slow to avoid hitting roaming cattle, long-tailed macaques or wild boars.
For a scenic route drive through Selayang towards Ipoh, by passing Templer Park, Hutan Lipur Kanching, Rawang town centre, to Kampung Sungai Choh (where former Miss Malaysia and celebrated actress Erra Fazira was born and raised), make a left turn the the T-junction, bypassing two automative plants before making a right turn at Kampung Koskan, then straight on to Bandar Sungai Buaya.
Either way, it will notch up 50 kilometres on your odometer, giving you about an hour's drive during off-peak hours, though it must be said that traffic congestion in Rawang can be legendary over the weekends.
When it was launched in 1996, developer Bandar Sungai Buaya Sdn Bhd sold the idea of a low-density living of eight units per acre, underground telecommunication cable system, a man-made lake, a club house and a recreational centre; and the sale brochure was emblazoned with "proposed" highway interchange which would make Kuala Lumpur a mere 18 minutes away.
It caught the imagination of many to own a property here and lead a suburban lifestyle, and I was one of them. Within days of launch, the first phase of the township was sold out.
The promise of this "modern suburban living" did not just extend to house buyers, but also to 363 Felda Sungai Buaya settlers who were here first to open the land with rubber plantation in 1964.
The entire township is built on a former Felda Sungai Buaya rubber estate, while the original settlement, Kampung Sungai Buaya is about three kilometres away from the newly-constructed township.
The Felda settlers were promised not just a suburban lifetyle but properties and a hefty sum in exchange of their land titles. The economic downturn in 1998 took all that away for all of us living in Bandar Sungai Buaya.
Due to the lack of funds, the developer halted the project, leaving Bandar Sungai Buaya a half-constructed township.
I found out soon enough from my neighbour who worked with Malaysian Highway Authority, that the proposal for the interchange was never really made. He never moved into the new house but sold it soon at the developer's price to cut his loss.
The developer's company was then liquidated in 2009, thus sealing the fate of Bandar Sungai Buaya as an abandoned township project.
Except for the Felda settlers, many of my neighbours decided to move out and live elsewhere. They could not stand the distance and the desolation of the township.
I, on the other hand, prefer waking up to the singing of tekukur (spotted dove), kingfisher, hummingbird, and murai on the trees, the stillness of the evening, the glorious crimson sunset over the hills and the light mist after the rain in Bandar Sungai Buaya.
Over the years, the 10,000 population neighbourhood grew on me. In the afternoon, the few stalls at the township junction "fragrants the air" with the smell of smoky grilled satay, bamboo tray steamed kueh pau, char kueh teow a la Sungai Buaya, banana leaf-wrapped nasi lemak and at the far end, petrol by the litre for motorcycles. You see, the nearest petrol station is 10 kilometres away. The nearest hospital is in Kuala Kubu Baru.
Like other housing areas, Bandar Sungai Buaya is no exception to a host of maintenance issues with the local council, in this case the Hulu Selangor District Council. The council, which covered the entire area of Hulu Selangor, was once awarded the broom for its inefficiency by a former Selangor Mentri Besar, a hugely unpopular gesture that was said to have cost Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo his political career.
While housebuyers like me suffer tremendous property value depreciation, the hardest blow fell on the Felda settlers. They did not just lose their land titles, for which they had worked for more than 30 years; now they also have no land to earn their livelihood.
It was a sad story debated over and over again at every election campaign; to be exact, four general elections and one by-election, switching representatives between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional.
During the 2010 by-election campaigns, politicians promised that the highway interchange would be built, saying that the interchange would cut the journey by 20 kilometres and travelling time down to 20 minutes from Sungai Buaya toll gate to Jalan Duta exit.
You could forgive us for being sceptical because it has been 14 years since we first read the word "proposed" interchange on the house sales brochure that prompted us to buy a house here.
Several months after the by-election, a signboard popped up by the roadside announcing the construction of an interchange by PLUS with a scheduled delivery date on June 2013. It is now December.
The Sungai Buaya toll gate is barely two kilometres away from my house. It will make a significant change to my monthly expenses and time spent commuting to work and will definitely impact the lives of 100,000 people in Bandar Sungai Buaya, Kampung Sungai Buaya, Kampung Koskan, Kampung Sungai Choh and Serendah area.
The interchange may not immediately solve the Felda settlers land title issue, but surely this is a ray of hope to changes in Bandar Sungai Buaya and the surrounding areas.
Driving to work in Bangsar, I pass the construction site and see the construction progress daily. I pray that the completion of this interchange will finally connect Bandar Sungai Buaya, by distance and developments, to the rest of the world.
The Sungai Buaya toll gate is barely two kilometres away from my house. 
Pix by Mior Azfar Mior Kamarulbaid

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Dipersilakan menyertai BASIKALTON AMAL 2012 DI SK. BANDAR SUNGAI BUAYA, RAWANG, SELANGOR pada 10/11/12.

Sila layari untuk maklumat lanjut.........