Monday, 25 January 2010

Hospital Kuala Krai 1930s

Hospital Kuala Krai (HKK), Kuala Krai, Kelantan
Pengarah Hospital
Jalan Kuala Krai
18000 Kuala Krai
Phone: 09-966 6333
Fax: 09-966 6076

Kuala Krai was a British stronghold and administrative capital. It prospered because of the iron mines farther ahead at Bukit Besi (according to locals, mining has ceased and mines abandoned). Iron was transported by train down south for export to Great Britain. (Iron mining was also carried out in Terengganu - from accounts of my father, of his uncle (Pak Busu/my Tok Busu) who married and settled in Jengka, Pahang after WWII.

Hospital Kuala Krai (HKK) was the first hospital built by the British in Ulu Kelantan district. It is located on a hilltop. The main road passes in front of the hospital and leads to the main entrance at the foothill. The Gua Musang highway is behind the hospital and not visible from the hospital. (Google Earth may show the location of HKK wrt the Gua Musang highway.)

Photos of HKK on 13 July 2007:
All photos by Faridah Abdul Rashid.

New entrance to HKK.
Rear carpark.
Ambulance route (from entrance uphill to A&E).
Front carpark, A&E and ambulance bay.
Front carpark (nearest ambulance bay).
Ambulance bay and main ward building.
Main road to HKK and Kuala Krai town (farther up ahead).
A telecommunication tower can be seen in the middle background.
Delivery unit. This is an old building.
Old entrance to HKK has been closed off.
Old part of HKK. The staircase leads up to the old offices above.
View of new HKK buildings from the old entrance (closed off).
HKK viewed from the main road.

YM Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin was an early Malay doctor who served at HKK. He was the only doctor in the then 80-bedded hospital in 1958, for 9 months. His patients were mostly Muslims. He contributed to the building of a small "surau" (just a platform) for the patients' families to perform their prayers. That "surau" is no longer there. There are two prayer places today - a wooden surau in front of the ambulance parking bay and a new brick surau near the rear parking lot.

New wooden surau.
New brick surau at the rear parking lot.

External links:,en,sat

GH Kota Bharu 1930s (1)

General Hospital Kota Bharu (GHKB)
Hospital Kota Bharu (HKB)
Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II (HRPZ II)

The initial hospital was at another site, in front of Pejabat Tanah today (probably the Klinik An-Nisa today). The hospital then shifted to its present site in 1930s (there is a date mentioned in one of the publications of Muzium Kelantan).

Dr Che' Lah bin Md Joonos was an early Malay doctor (1904-1986). He was transferred from the Civil General Hospital Kuala Lumpur to the Health Office Kota Bharu, Kelantan where he served as Health Officer (H.O.) on 11 December 1945. Four months later, Dr Che' Lah worked at the General Hospital Kota Bharu where he served as Medical Director (M.D.) on 30 April 1946.

Tuan Haji Tamin Merican provided a few names of staff (mainly doctors) who had served at the hospital.

The hospital has changed names three times. It was first General Hospital Kota Bharu (GHKB), then Hospital Kota Bharu (HKB) and now Hospital Raja Perempuan Zainab II (HRPZ II). The previous Malay names were Hospital Umum Kota Bharu and Hospital Besar Kota Bharu. Today, it is referred to simply as "GH" despite its modern long Malay royal name.

HRPZ II has undergone renovations since 1990. Only part of the colonial buildings remain today. Many new modern buildings have been added. If you take the periphery road to the rear of the hospital, you may still be able to see some of the remaining colonial buildings which are white-washed low lying little brick buildings with tiny windows and big blue wooden entrance doors.

Photos of HRPZ II on 6 June 2007.

Main entrance to HRPZ II.

HRPZ II wards nearest the main entrance:
Renovated old wards.

The old TB Ward (pics below) has been demolished in 2009 and new construction has begun in January 2010.
Old parking lot at old TB Ward (demolished).
Old TB Ward (demolished)

Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has used GHKB as its teaching hospital for medical student training since 1983 when Hospital USM (HUSM) was still being built.


PKKN 1930

Pusat Kawalan Kusta Negara (PKKN)
National Leprosy Control Centre

I'm putting some photos first cos my notes on PKKN are at home. I misplaced the PKKN photos and found them today, so I'm hosting them here before I lose them again. I will update re the interview held at PKKN on 6 July 2007 with then Director, Dr Virmal Singh.

Photos taken on 6 July 2007:
Main entrance to PKKN.
Staff parking nearest entrance.
Parking near the main office (turn left at the entrance).

Interview with En Abdul Majid at the Research Unit (Makmal Penyelidikan):
Novartis MDT-Combi for adult leprosy sufferers (donated by WHO).
En Abdul Majid (PKKN) and Tuan Haji Affandi (HUSM).
The chaulmoogra tree? The chestnut-like fruit is used for its oil which is mixed with Chinese herbs as an ancient topical treatment for leprosy.
Hospital Sungai Buloh viewed from PKKN.

Lepers were housed at many places throughout British Malaya including Setapak Camp where Dr Travers was director till he retired in 1925 and returned to Great Britain. Setapak Camp became overcrowded and a new site 12 miles north of Kuala Lumpur was gazetted for leper resettlement. This was Sungei Buloh Settlement (Sungei Buloh however had another name which the locals used).

Sungei Buloh Settlement was constructed beginning 1926 and operated in 1930 (5 years after Dr Travers retired at Setapak Camp). The administration at Sungei Buloh was initially managed by British doctors and nurses. The lepers were mostly Indians and Chinese, with a few Malays. For eleven years (1930 to 1941), Sungei Buloh Settlement had never had a Malay doctor in-charge of administration but confined to other jobs including at the Research Unit (Makmal Penyelidikan).

Having worked many places before, an experienced and skillful Dr Che' Lah was transferred from the District Hospital Klang to the Sungei Buloh Settlement where he served as MO on 25 June 1941.

On 8 December 1941, 5 months after Dr Che Lah joined Sungei Buloh Settlement, 
the Japanese attacked Malaya. Soon Malaya fell to the Japanese. The British doctors and nurses at Sungei Buloh Settlement were all inturned in Singapore.  

There were no British doctors to serve the Settlement. Dr Che' Lah was the only Malay doctor who had more than 2 years work experience with leprosy. The Japanese administration then appointed Dr Che' Lah as the Medical Superintendent of the Sungei Buloh Settlement on Christmas 1943. Dr Che' Lah served the Japanese administration for almost 2 years till the war was over in September 1945.