Earmarked to be a major sports hub and tourist destination, the soon-to-be completed Kuala Lumpur Sports City (KLSC) is set to transform the landscape of Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
As of March 30, KLSC, formerly known as Bukit Jalil Sports Complex, is 88% complete as preparations are in full swing for the SEA Games and Asean Para Games from Aug 19 to 31 and Sept 17 to 23 respectively.
Project stakeholders Malaysia Stadium Corporation (PSM) and Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) gave StarMetro an insight into the six-year, RM1.6bil project which began in 2015 and is due to be completed in 2021 to transform KLSC into a world-class venue.
Encompassing 29.5ha, Phase One focused on rejuvenating the National Stadium, the Axiata Arena (previously known as Putra Indoor Stadium), the National Hockey Stadium and the National Aquatic Centre.
“We want to put KLSC on the map of top 10 places in Kuala Lumpur.
“We aim to attract tourists to come and visit the stadium,” said PSM chief executive officer Azman Fahmi Osman.
He said the stadiums were being rejuvenated not only for the upcoming SEA Games and Asean Para Games but also as a venue for the public to enjoy all types of events.
“When completed, the rejuvenated look and world-class facilities at the National Sports Complex will ensure there is long-term commercial interest from domestic and international organisers in both the sporting and non-sporting sectors.
“This will ensure Bukit Jalil’s long-term sustainability and profitability,” he said, adding that PSM was already receiving requests from leading event organisers interested to stage events there.
“We plan to have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly community activities at KLSC to serve as a catalyst to make sports, recreation and healthy living at the centre of national, family and youth life,” Azman said.
Phase Two spans 25.6ha and is expected to feature a sports university, training facilities, sports hospital, sports-oriented mall and a sports-themed hotel.
“These are, however, still in the planning stage, as we want to focus on Phase One to prepare for the SEA Games,” Azman said.
The rejuvenation project, carried out by MRCB’s subsidiary Rukun Juan Sdn Bhd, is centred around the almost 20-year-old Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
When completed, visitors arriving by LRT at the Bukit Jalil Station will be greeted by a newly created boulevard and covered walkway leading to the stadium grounds.
“When we came to Bukit Jalil, the first thing we saw was the LRT station.
“We knew that it was a driver but it was under-utilised, so we created the landscape based on the Transit Oriented Development concept,” said MRCB general manager S. Nalgunalingam.
The redevelopment is centred around public transportation and ease of access.
The covered walkway linking the Bukit Jalil LRT station to the stadium will be about eight to 10m wide while the plaza area from the LRT station features a profiled slope and terraces.
“We intentionally built these terraces and breakout spaces by using plants and trees so it becomes a space within a space which people would enjoy using,” said Nalgunalingam, adding that London’s Wembley Stadium and the Munich’s Allianz Arena also employed the same concept, which is to leverage public transport.
“To accommodate the covered walkway and boulevard, the carpark was shifted but the number of parking lots has been maintained,” he added.
Motorists travelling along Jalan Barat in front of the stadium will notice another big change with the once exposed vertical pillars of the stadium partially hidden behind 678 vertically stacked aluminium blades.
Hidden within the facade is a dynamic lighting system that can light the stadium up at night with colours as well as display text.
All set for SEA Games
PSM is planning to have an open day prior to the SEA Games for the public to get to know KLSC.
Azman said small events such as fun runs could be organised but details would only be finalised after the handover is completed.
The venues and its surrounding areas will be equipped with CCTV cameras linked to a new control centre that will be manned around the clock.
There will be wider aisles and seating capacity will be lowered by a small percentage to accommodate this.
“There will also be disabled-friendly features such as additional ramps and 160 wheelchair areas at the National Stadium,” said Nalgunalingam.
Phase One will see LED lights in the stadium and walkways with Phase Two expected to feature more green technology such as rainwater harvesting and solar panels.
KLSC will also boast more greenery than before with 30% of the land in Phase One allocated as a green space which includes mature trees planted to create a dense canopy and sheltered experience for visitors.
The RM1.1b Phase Two is set to begin in January next year and will go further with 60% of green space incorporated into the surrounding areas, including the carpark.
PSM will assist the SEA Games secretariat in their Green Games agenda with initiatives such as providing electric vehicle parking bays and charging terminals, as well as reducing congestion and encouraging recycling.