Klang council privatises community sports hall

MPK has leased Dewan Sukan Klang in Taman Sri Andalas to a private firm for RM3,500 per month. — Photos: KK SHAM/The Star

The Klang Municipal Council’s (MPK) privatisation of Dewan Sukan Klang in Taman Sri Andalas, has not gone down well with stakeholders.

It is learnt that the 2,298sq m sports hall at Lengkungan Sri Mersing 35 off Jalan Tun Abdul Razak has been leased to a private firm for RM3,500 per month, which would see the council earning RM42,000 annually.

MPK is said to have inked a 15-year agreement with the firm that provides for a 10% increase in lease every five years.

According to an officer in charge of the refurbished sports hall, the number of badminton courts had also increased from six to 10.

From Monday to Saturdays, the rental is now RM10 per hour (9am to 6pm) while from 6pm to midnight, the rate is RM18 per hour.

Evening sessions that would cost RM36 for two hours are being offered at RM30, but this rate is only available from 6pm to 8pm, 8pm to 10pm or 10pm to midnight.

Under MPK, the badminton court previously cost RM10 for two hours from Monday to Friday (9am to 5pm).

Between 5pm and 11pm, the rate was RM16 for two hours.

On weekends (9am to 5pm), the rate was RM12 for two hours, while rental between 5pm and 11pm had cost RM18 for two hours.

Hafiz Hakimi, 17, who represented his school in the Shah Alam District School Sports Council for badminton, said community sports halls built using people’s monies should remain under the local council’s management.

“MPK should have consulted stakeholders before privatising the hall.”

Hafiz, 17, said the council should aspire to charge reasonable fees for the use of public sports facilities.

“Giving the sports hall to a private firm to manage goes against the spirit of having a community hall, which is meant for the B40 and middle-income groups,” he added.

Taman Andalas Jaya Lorong 58 to 61 Residents Association president Foong Chee Kuan said council- owned community sports halls should not be privatised.

“Such facilities can help unearth new talent, which will develop sports in the Klang district.

“Our association urges MPK to retain the management and operations of community sports halls.

“MPK should be innovative in finding revenue by other means.”

Foong said the council should reduce the fees so more people from the lower-income group can use the facilities.

Resident Mohamed Hussain Maideen is afraid the rate could increase further following the privatisation of a community asset.

“Dewan Sukan Klang is a platform that will help in social integration.

“MPK must reverse its decision, which focuses on short-term gains.”

Barathi Balakrishnan, 42, said the council must justify its decision.

“MPK must review the decision and bring back the old rates,” he insisted.

Mother-of-two Norhayati Sahar, 32, also said the fees charged should be reasonable.

“Our local council must ensure that the halls are used to promote sports, which nurture values like teamwork and respect,” she added.

Peter Tan, 75, a businessman, said MPK must seek the people’s views where public amenities, especially sports facilities, were concerned.

“Those in the B40 group might not be able to afford the higher rental to book the facilities.”

MPK Corporate Communications Department director Norfiza Mahfiz confirmed that the hall was privatised to facilitate better management.

Asked about the new rates, she said they were still affordable and the council would periodically assess the fees.

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