Monday, July 24, 2006

London Sports Centre. My, My Aren't We Being Stubborn?

The cost of building the sports centre for Malaysian athletes outside London will be reasonable provided that the project takes off the ground, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Monday. "We will allow an amount that is considered reasonable. Don't worry. The Cabinet Committee on Sports will decide. We will take into account the people's views," he said.

Najib, who chairs the committee, said that it had only approved the concept of the sports facility while other details such as financial allocation were yet to be decided or approved. "The amount has not been approved by the cabinet committee yet. We are still looking into the details.

Asked whether the proposed amount was RM490 million as had been widely reported by the media, Najib said: "The matter is still subject to the cabinet committee approval and our discussion with the Ministry of Finance." The Youth and Sports Ministry reportedly said that it would continue pursuing the building of the sports centre despite strong objections from many parties, with Minister Datuk Azalina Othman saying that it was needed to mould Malaysian sportsmen to become high achievers.

Alluding to reports that British authorities would not allow additional buildings to be built at the TARRC as it had been gazetted as a heritage site, Najib said that the stand of the local council there would be ascertained. Explaining about the facility, he said it would allow Malaysian athletes to be put into a more competitive environment. Secondly, it will serve as a transit centre before they participate in international sporting events, especially in terms of preparing themselves at the facility.

To a question, he said there was no guarantee that the athletes who went for training there would deliver for the country. "But we have to try and improve the standard of sports in Malaysia, that is the whole idea. And if they want to compete at the highest level, they'll have to be exposed at that level on a regular basis. "You can't expose them once in a while. They have to be immersed in a very competitive culture," Najib said.

**** So basically whatever the PM says, thinks or feels on this issue is not their concern. Nor does the opinion of the Brits matter. It is slowly turning into a prestige issue on whether Najib, Azalina and company get their way or the people do. This has got all the ingredients of a time-bomb which is going to explode on some faces one day.


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