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London Sports Centre springs back to life with a new RM69 million tag but which is likely to end up with a final bill many times over

Media Statement   
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Friday) : The controversial London Sports Centre has sprung back to life five months after reports that the proposed RM490 million High Performance Sports Complex mega-project in Brickendonbury, London had been shelved or even abandoned.

After the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development at the end of September, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is chairman of the Sports Cabinet Committee, gave an assurance that the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) in Brickendonbury will not be turned into a sports complex and that it would be used as a training centre without additional expenses to renovate it. (New Straits Times 29/9.2006)

Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said was quoted in the same report as saying that the Cabinet Committee had considered the views of the public on the building of a RM490 million Sports Complex in London, assuring that “no additional costs will be incurred as we will be using existing facilities”: She said the RM490 million London Sports Complex proposal was “put forward by consultants but we never considered it”.

Both Najib and Azalina’s assurances that “no additional expenses will be incurred” as “we will be using existing facilities” have been quickly forgotten with Najib’s announcement yesterday that the High Performance Training Centre in Brickendonbury will be refurbished at a cost of RM69 million, which will include the building accommodation for athletes and upgrading the fields and equipment all to be ready by April.

Although the London Sports Centre idea has sprung back to life with a new RM69 million tag, it is likely to end up with a final bill many times over if the MRR2 scandal is anything to go back – where an original RM18 million repair bill for the RM120 million cracked Middle Ring Road 2 ended up almost four times the original cost at RM70 million.

The objections to the building of the “white elephant” project in Brickendonbury, London expressed last year by all strata of society, including MPs from both the Barisan Nasional and the Opposition, remain valid today – that the monies could be better spent on building sports centres throughout the country as in every parliamentary constituency, in towns, kampongs, felda, felcra, to scout and develop sports talents.

Najib and Azalina should give full details of the RM69 million “refurbishment” approved for the London Sports Centre as well as the operating costs.


*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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