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Thursday, November 15, 2007
NSC's High Performance Training Centre laid to rest?


In July 2006, Malaysiakini carried news of the NSC (National Sports Council)great idea of having a High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) in England for RM490 million. The NSC insisted then that the media was wrong about the plan and the cost. The NSC said the figure of RM490 million for the HPTC was absolutely wrong and highly speculative. The NSC claimed that the overall benefits for Malaysian sports to move to a new level and long term benefits far outweighed whatever criticism levelled on such a noble and innovative idea.

For the moment, NSC plans to set up the HPTC and use it as a forward base for Malaysian athletes have to be shelved as the East Herts Council has rejected its plans. It appears that the English value their green belts more than Malaysians.

The case officer involved, Tim Haygard recommended that the council refuse planning permission for the NSC plans which included "establishment of an elite athletes training facility comprising the regrading of an existing football pitch to FIFA standards, the erection of a two-storey plus basement accommodation building to be used by athletes and officials, the demolition of nine buildings including three curtilage listed buildings, a new car park and landscaping ...".

Initially, the NSC had planned a massive complex costing about RM490 million but was later scaled down and projected to cost RM70 million. About RM2 million has already been spent on preliminary work for a project which include fees to architects’ firms, travel and accommodation for visiting Malaysian delegations. These RM2 million would have been better spent to repair this collapsed school mentioned in Malaysiakini :: Sekolah Menengah Bandar Kuching 1 which was razed in a fire on May 28 2007.

Imagine the NSC wanting a FIFA standard football pitch! Has Malaysian football gone ballistically world standard, the English knows better, we have only played once in an Olympic football tournament and have never made it to the World Cup.

What can the NSC do in the face of rejection by the English? According to the NSC official, NSC can either appeal, submit a fresh application, which will be a faster process, or not pursue the matter at all. And who is the man or woman who can decide on this? None other than our DPM who heads the Cabinet Committee for Sports or the Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said. Will they persist with this wasteful idea?

For more details on this rejection go here or here.


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