RM800m pride of the nation in disgraceful state

Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex

By Haresh Deol, Malay Mail

BUKIT JALIL: It was supposed to be the pride of the nation.

A concept first dreamed up during the days of second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, the National Sports Complex in Bukit Jalil was touted the crown jewel of Malaysian sports where an array of world-class arenas side-by-side.

However, the facilities and stadiums within the RM800 million complex now lie in deplorable state.

Even as the Olympic-class National Stadium hosted a sterling showcase of football matches pitting Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea against Malaysia, visitors to the complex, both foreign and local, were subjected to less than world-class facilities.

The Malay Mail’s checks at the sprawling 120-hectare complex revealed several displays of poor maintenance, ranging from a polluted lake, pathways with broken tiles and even an open dumping site.

Visitors to the lake at Commonwealth Hill were treated to the sight of polystyrene food containers and plastic bottles floating in murky green water.

This appears to be the result of waste being channeled into the lake by a restaurant at the park entrance.

At the opposite end of the restaurant, several damaged facilities were seen including vandalised rubbish bins, broken seats and a huge crack in the jogging path that could potentially cause injuries to unwary joggers.

A jogger, who only wished to be known as David, described the area as “appalling”.

“I like jogging here but I wish it was properly maintained. This crack is big and if I were to fall, I would smash my face into the ground,” he said.

Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex

BROKEN: Phone booths with missing and vandalised telephones

Another jogger claimed a strong stench emanated from the lake.

“The water’s so murky. This is not reflective of a venue that once hosted the Commonwealth Games. Such things cannot be taken lightly.”

There were many loose tiles around the National Stadium and Putra Stadium. There was also an open space filled with old rubbish bins, used tiles, signboards and other rusty metal pieces at the large space between the National Aquatic Centre and the Putra Stadium. Even weeds dot this site, suggesting the unused materials have been left there for a long time.

Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex
SOAKED THROUGH: The leaky roof in the National Squash Centre

The phone booths are either devoid of phones entirely or busted. These include public phones near the Bukit Jalil LRT station, in front of the National Aquatic Centre and Putra Stadium.

A visitor told The Malay Mail this was an inconvenience, as telecommunication lines are usually congested during major events forcing some to rely on public phones to make calls.

The public toilets, meanwhile, were in bad shape, an embarrassment as we played host to several major events in the past two weeks.

Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex
DISGUSTING: The clogged sinks in a toilet within the complex

Apart from the football matches with the Barclays Premier League teams at the National Stadium, the Putra Stadium hosted a concert by Malaysian singer Gary Chaw, as well as the ongoing Malaysia Open squash tournament at the National Squash Centre.

The National Stadium is set to host the upcoming pre-World Cup second round return leg match between Malaysia and Singapore on July 28.

Even the ceiling of several venues at the National Squash Centre has rotted away, with several asbestos pieces missing.

However, contractors were seen laying new tiles on the sidewalks of the road between the Bukit Jalil Sports School and National Sports Council training venue.

New trees were seen being planted in front of Putra Stadium.

The management had come under fire for various reasons in the past including the leaking roof at the Putra Stadium, the poor condition of the diving boards at the National Aquatic Centre and the laying of new turf at the National Hockey Stadium.

Money – or rather lack of it – had previously been cited as the reason the National Stadiums were turning into a national shame.