PETALING JAYA: Eerie silence have replaced sounds of crashing pins at bowling centres throughout the country.
Without a place for national bowlers to train and with many employers left without a job, there are desperate calls by the operators to bring the alley alive again.
Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican stated last week that the national bowlers can resume training under a bubble system at the Megalanes during the movement control order but it’s not as easy as it seems.
All the centres, which are located at malls, have not been given permission to operate in a move to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Can they operate just to accommodate the national bowlers? Who are going to bear the costs as they would not get any income as the public are still not allowed?
Sunway Megalanes assistant general manager Michelle Wong hopes the government will look into the plight of the centres.
“There are 96 bowling centres in Malaysia with more than 2,000 staff.
“All the workers are affected because they have no jobs and salaries and they are all Malaysians, ” said Michelle.
“We’re always overlooked. Bowling is a sport, but it’s also for leisure and business too. It’s also a non-contact sport.
“Businesses are affected so much. It’s a million dollar business plus rentals are usually very high since the majority of the centres are based in shopping malls.
“Besides that, there are also small businesses like the coffee shops and pro-shops that sell bowling equipment. There are 80 pro shops with more than 600 staff.
“We are really hoping for an approval to re-open the centres, ” added Michelle, who is representing all the bowling centres and pro-shops in Malaysia.
When the centres were opened briefly late last year, the operators practised social distancing and had followed the rules while the national athletes were able to practise at their second “home” by strictly adhering to the SOPs.