Ghost Town

14 March 2017

Located in the Hulu Selangor district, Bukit Beruntung (which literally translates to “Profitable Hill”) is now an ironic misnomer after many decades of failed development. Abandoned buildings, scarce infrastructure and poorly maintained public facilities continue to lead the township into its demise. We explore the streets and buildings as we document Bukit Beruntung’s deteriorating community.

As the sun dips beyond the horizon, much of Bukit Beruntung is shrouded in darkness. The streetlights have not been working for years as many of the main roads have yet to be handed over to the Public Works Department (JKR).

Twenty years ago, Bukit Beruntung was the talk of the town. Speculations of a new airport being built in its vicinity hailed and branded the township as Selangor’s “Second Petaling Jaya”, or even, the “Beverly Hills of Selangor”.

However, when confirmation arose that the airport – now Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) – would be built in Sepang instead, Bukit Beruntung quickly plummeted into the throes of a ghost town. Even after many years, numerous efforts to revitalise the township proved to be futile.

Now, many of the township’s street and buildings are grey and lifeless. The remaining inhabitants continue to live in the midst of crime and abandoned homes that sometimes become makeshift lairs for drug addicts and the homeless. Roads are pockmarked with potholes and rubbish can be seen scattered around – reminiscent of a bleak B-grade apocalyptical movie.

Many of the property prices that were once valued at over RM50,000 have now dipped, and are being auctioned off at a mere RM5,000 to RM6,000.

Despite its gloomy reputation and continual neglect, the dwindling but persistent community remains hopeful. Bukit Beruntung was after all birthed from the optimism of developers and the locals. Perhaps it would transform someday and bear testament to its name.

Text by Lillian Wee
Photos by Vincent Paul Yong

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