Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sports Ministry Drops Plan for RM490 Million Brickendonbury Sports Centre

What started as an ambitious but financially questionable 'plan' to help our athletes prepare for the 2012 London Olympics, by creating a new multi-million ringgit sports centre at the Malaysian-owned Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre in Brickendonbury, Hertfordshire, came to a conclusive end when the new Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the controversial project was being shelved.

A baby of the then sports minister Azalina Othman, who
had mooted the idea in July 2006, had said that the centre would see aspiring Malaysian athletes 'train and compete' in European tournaments. No one bought that story and many viewed it as a greedy, underhanded attempt by some interested parties to bilk the country to the tune of hundreds of millions of ringgit.

After strong domestic opposition even from within Umno, deputy prime minister Najib Tun Razak said that Malaysia had decided to drop the controversial plan. It was reported then that the sports facility would cost about 490 million ringgit. Najib had further stated that the authorities would use an existing facility at the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre. Many feared that the 'existing facility' ruse would still cost hundreds of millions. (Incidentally our sporting performance as everyone knows has flagged in recent years even in events at which we used to excel, such as badminton and hockey. Only Nicol David is a world-class Malaysian sports person today. Unfortunately for her, she does not belong to the 'right' group, for otherwise the rewards would have been astronomical.)

There was also talk last year that the government planned to use an arms deal with Britain to buy two frigates and other hardware as leverage to persuade British planners to approve the sports centre in the Green Belt in East Herts. That devious attempt too proved a non-starter.

However Azalina was
hell-bent on pushing through the unpopular plan and in the process seemed ready to defy the PM. And while Najib publicly said that the whole sports centre idea was being dropped, in truth the ministry furtively put in an application but luckily around mid-November 2007, the East Herts Council Development Control Committee shot it down. Azalina was left licking her wounds while Najib pretended that nothing had happened perhaps waiting for another opportune moment to refloat the plan.

Now at last there appears to be a finality of sorts to the whole fiasco and it is hoped that this controversial money-making scheme will be buried for good.
Image - Source

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4 Comments:

Blogger warta tua said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:55 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This RM490 million Brickendonbury Sports Centre is merely 10% of Chan KC's PKFZ scandal

2:03 PM GMT+8  
Anonymous SM said...

it's ok...she has now moved on to "Greener Pastures"! She will surely find something to screw up in the Tourism Ministry!
Looks like "someone" will not be making any commission here!

4:03 PM GMT+8  
Blogger Zawi said...

Najib OKed the project earlier which means he was abetting the then minister to rob the country through this project.
Thank Allah for the new minister who has some sense to abort the wasteful project.

11:02 AM GMT+8  

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