THE Shah Alam Stadium is undergoing a transitional period as the Selangor government has appointed Darul Ehsan Facilities Management (DEFM) Sdn Bhd to look into improving the football stadium.
It is learnt that the state incurred heavy losses amounting to millions of ringgit that was spent on maintenance and repairs for the 24-year-old stadium.
The lack of usage for the stadium, with a seating capacity of 80,000, is said to have contributed to the losses.
DEFM, a state-owned company under Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI), took over the management of the stadium from Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) on Jan 1.
Selangor State Youth Development, Sports, Cultural and Entrepreneurship Development Committee chairman Amirudin Shari said the company was also responsible for managing six other facilities, including Stadium Malawati located next to the football stadium, the Aquatic Centre and Sports Complex in Section 7, Shah Alam.
DEFM, Amiruddin said, shouldered the mammoth task of turning Shah Alam Stadium, which was opened in July 1994, into a profitable enterprise.
He said it was for business reasons that the stadium’s management was handed over to DEFM.
“The Selangor government realised that it was tough for a local authority like MBSA to manage the stadium from a business perspective.
“MBSA was appointed the caretaker in 2006 after the service of a private company which managed the stadium, was discontinued by the state,” he told StarMetro.
According to statistics, Amiruddin said, the city council sustained heavy losses annually since assuming the role of a caretaker.
He said it was unfair for MBSA to be burdened by such responsibility when it was supposed to play its role as a local authority that offered quality and efficient services to Shah Alam residents.
“The state realised that MBSA was running into deficit amounting to several millions while carrying out the caretaker role.
“MBSA incurred losses although the state had provided a grant to carry out major repair works on the stadium,” he said.
With the appointment of DEFM, he added that the stadium would be operated under the concept of service-cum-business.
Amiruddin said the company was still in the process of studying the potential of optimising the stadium’s usage and its space for football, sport and other events.
Currently, he said, the football stadium was being used as the home ground by PKNS FC, Felcra and the police for the Super League matches.
Although Selangor FC, the state team decided against using the stadium as its home ground, Amiruddin hoped things would change for the better in the near future.
He was confident that DEFM would be able to turn things around with or without the Selangor team.
“The state spent several hundred millions of public funds to build the stadium and carry out maintenance work.
“It is only fair we look at it as a business entity and find ways to generate more income so that we do not have to continuously spend the rakyat’s money for its maintenance,” he said, adding that the DEFM’s priority was to make the stadium self-sustaining in the long-term.
Besides football, Amiruddin said, the company had been tasked to bring in business by getting corporate bodies to organise events such as business expos at the stadium compound.
He said the company was responsible to optimise usage of space such as the carpark, foyer and other parts of the stadium for various activities so that additional revenue would be generated.
“We encourage them to initiate all sort of methods to bring in revenue including promoting the stadium as a meeting point for the people.
“We can have cafes, restaurants and other businesses so that space at the stadium is taken up to generate income,” he said.
Amiruddin said the state would look at ways to improve the stadium’s overall condition.
He said the stadium’s roofing was in bad shape as it had not been changed for 24 years.
“There are a total of 55,000 pieces of polycarbonate sheets that make up the roofing.
“About 300 of the sheets have given way and we need about RM300,000 to replace the material,” he said, adding that there would be more areas requiring repairs and maintenance that would be done in stages.
In recent years, Amiruddin said, the state spent a substantial amount of money to do up the pitch, seating, scoreboard and lighting.
“We believe that DEFM will able to offer a much better facility and service to the people.
“However, it will take the company awhile before they get things done,” he said.