SPORTS enthusiasts and residents are unhappy that facilities managed by the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) are in a deplorable condition. They want the local authority to upgrade these as sports are an integral part of making Petaling Jaya a “liveable and sustainable city”.
StarMetro recently checked out three sporting venues in the city — the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kelana Jaya, the Petaling Jaya Hockey Stadium in Jalan Selangor and Kompleks Sukan Astaka in Jalan Utara.
Our survey showed that these venues are now better known for hosting non-sports events as the turf and facilities are not up to the mark.
There are cracks in several parts of the Petaling Jaya Stadium in Kelana Jaya. Some of the chairs were missing, probably due to vandalism or wear and tear. Broken parts from these chairs were scattered around the stadium.
A structure above the entrance of the 17-year-old building (located next to the ticket counters) had also given way. Paint on the entire building is peeling off and graffiti was seen on most pillars at the entrance of the stadium.
According to sources, the electronic scoreboard is not in working condition, resulting in organisers of sporting events using the manual one instead.
In addition, the 100m tracks are uneven with holes seen in some lanes.
At the grandstand area, the switch boards have literally come off the walls.
Meanwhile, the Petaling Jaya Hockey Stadium located opposite Assunta Hospital in Jalan Selangor was declared unfit for use in 2006 by the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), as the turf was not up to International Hockey Federation (FIH) specifications.
According to experts, a new turf should be laid every five years. It was reported that MBPJ had not maintained the pitch or replaced the turf as required.
Checks revealed that the turf at the stadium appeared torn while the goal posts and flag poles needed repainting. The overall fencing also needed an upgrade.
Chairs at the seating area of the stadium, which was built in 1995, have been dismantled, probably due to wear and tear or vandalism. As we were not allowed into the stadium, we could not check the interior of the place, which is now more known as a venue for ceramah.
Built in the early 1980s, the Kompleks Sukan Astaka in Jalan Utara, Section 52 also has defects. The complex is a venue for indoor squash and outdoor tennis. Cracks are visible on the floor near the fence of the tennis court.
Padang Utara, located opposite Astaka, is a well-known venue for rugby and football. The roof above the benches have holes, while the field looked poorly maintained with overgrown grass. Pieces of metal were seen scattered on the field.
Major facelift needed
Selangor Amateur Athletics Association secretary G. Mohan said the Petaling Jaya Stadium tracks were not in a good state.
“Most of the lanes have holes in them because goods are loaded and unloaded there.
“We are only able to use two to three lanes for training. We have started using the Bukit Jalil Stadium since last year for competitions,” said Mohan, adding that the recent Selangor Junior Meet was also held in Bukit Jalil, which will also host the Selangor Open.
Mohan hopes MBPJ will repair the tracks as soon as possible to enable training sessions and competitive events to be held there.
“The stadium needs a facelift,’’ he said.
Selangor Hockey Association (SHA) secretary P. Kuganeson said they had to use the Bukit Jalil National Hockey Stadium and the Education Ministry’s Stadium in Jalan Pantai for training.
“SHA has written many letters appealing to the state to retain and upgrade the Petaling Jaya Hockey Stadium, instead of changing it to a multi-purpose sports complex,” said Kuganeson, adding that the city needed its own hockey stadium.
He said SHA had worked with Selangor’s Youth and Sports, Infrastructure and Public Amenities Committee chairman Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi to bring in four independent contractors to evaluate the stadium’s condition and proposals were submitted to MBPJ and Dr Ahmad in January this year,
“Apart from the Pandamaran Stadium in Klang, which also needs to be returfed, the Petaling Jaya Hockey Stadium is the only venue for hockey players in the state.
“They should spend money to upgrade the stadium and not change it into a multi-purpose sports complex,” he added.
Selangor Rugby Union (SRU) honorary secretary M.Suhaimi Zainuddin said Padang Utara had been in a bad condition for two years.
“The field was our training ground for a long time until it was open to the public for other events.
“The organisers failed to clear the metal pieces used to set up tents for events. This not only posed a danger to our players, but left holes in the field, making it uneven,” said Suhaimi.
He said MBPJ decided to upgrade the field and improve the drainage system after numerous requests and work started last year.
“However, the contractor appointed by MBPJ is taking a long time to complete the job,” said Suhaimi.
SRU currently hosts Rugby Union Leagues and other friendly matches at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in Bangi, while practice sessions are being held at Dataran Petaling Jaya (next to Amcorp Mall).
Taman Gasing Indah Rukun Tetangga chairman Eric Chew said MBPJ should have kept tabs on the maintenance of sports facilities and have a proper schedule.
“Taxpayers’ money should be used to upgrade these facilities,” said Chew, noting that well-maintained sports facilities was part of having a liveable and sustainable city.
Kampung Medan resident Zulkifli Ali said instead of using taxpayers’ money on constructing sidewalks or bazaars in Petaling Jaya State, MBPJ should improve existing infrastructure first.
“MBPJ should spend money to upgrade the hockey stadium so it meets international standards,’’ he said, adding that sports developed qualities such as discipline, leadership, confidence, and cooperation in youths.
Taman Medan assemblyman Haniza Talha also expressed disappointment at the poor state of sports facilities in Petaling Jaya.
“MBPJ has obtained city status, but many of its facilities don’t meet the standard required,” she pointed out.