RM69 mil London Sports Centre – proof of shambolic Abdullah government?

The bursting of the London High Performance Sports Training Centre balloon in less than a week raises concern whether the highly-regarded Abdullah administration had in three years degenerated into a shambolic and incompetent government.

Last Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Sports Development, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced a new lease of life for the controversial London Sports Centre, originally slated to cost RM490 million until it ran into quite unanimous opposition in the country including from Members of Parliament from both sides of the House.

Najib assured that “no additional costs will be incurred” in turning the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre (TARRC) in Brickendonbury into a sports training centre as “we will be using existing facilities”.

Yet the cost for turning the TARRC into a sports training centre instead of a sports complex will be a walloping big bill of RM69 million for “refurbishments” – which will include building accommodation for athletes and upgrading the fields and equipment all to be ready by April.

However, a Sun exclusive “Sports centre plan stalled” by R. Nadeswaran reported that despite Najib’s announcement that the London training centre will be full operational by April, it is likely to be a non-starter.

This is because the East Herts Council, under whose jurisdiction the Brickendonbury centre falls, holds the position that issues covering planning and development encountered in previous applications remain relevant to new proposals to converting existing buildings to provide accommodation for athletes, installing a football pitch, and extending an existing swimming pool on the site.

The council’s communications officer Nick White told the Sun in an email response to queries that the Brickendonbury site is within the green belt, surrounded by protected woodland. Some of the buildings are listed. As all these will need to be taken into account when planning application comes in, the council expect it will be a couple of months before a planning application is submitted.

In view of the stand taken by the East Herts Council, it is unlikely even if planning permission is approved, renovations can be completed by April.

This has led Nadeswaran to ask: who gave the deputy prime minister wrong or false information on the progress of the plans to turn the Tun Abdul Razaak Research Centre in Brickendonbury into a high-performance sports centre and which would be fully operational by April.

This and many other questions relating to the cost and the justification for such a RM69 million sports centre in London — which is likely to cost many times over before the final bill is in — also demand an answer from Najib to prove that he is not leading an incompetent, unprofessional and shambolic Cabinet Committee on Sports Development.

The short sorry history of the RM490 million London Sports Complex turned into RM69 million Sports Centre raises grave questions about the integrity of the entire decision-making process at the highest Cabinet level.

(Issued Wednesday 14th February 2007)

  1. #1 by Libra2 on Saturday, 17 February 2007 - 4:48 pm

    We have a gang of unscrupulous, dishonest, unprincipled, greedy and corrupted politicians leading the country. They can lie through their teeth and yet project a moral, God fearing image.

  2. #2 by DoingTheRightThing on Saturday, 17 February 2007 - 6:57 pm

    Bolehland’s citizen are being taken for a ride in yet another issue. Now they play with the figures and try their best to confuse the public until the public give up.

    Then the ministers will move on to another issue to divert public’s attenttion from this issue. This in how the country is being run over the years.

  3. #3 by matrix on Saturday, 17 February 2007 - 9:46 pm

    This BN still think that UK is Malay land and can bulldozed what ever they can develop. JKR, DID and local councils and city halls think they can do what without Development assessment plans. In UK, the DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION IS NOT OSA!!! They can pasted in front of the doors and post in the internet for any Objections. Try cutting down a tree UMNO?

  4. #4 by Tai Lo Chin on Saturday, 17 February 2007 - 11:24 pm

    Who would dare to mislead Najib by wrong or false information on TARRC? . He very well knows that the high-performance sport center cannot be ready by April. Yet he speaks as if it will. He obviously wants the concept of this project bulldozed through as a fait accompli notwithstanding objections and misgivings from some quarters of the public.

    The start up costs may be reduced from RM490 million to RM69 million. No matter. It is not just money and size or gradeur of the sport center. It is what it is supposed to symbolize – the legacy (under his father’s name) overseas, in a country that he looked up to having studied there.

    It is not Najib’s character to give up easily on his pet projects that he has an interest merely by reason of public opposition. You can see the way he pushed through the national service programme (NS) in an unprecedented way. He made sure that our youngsters are threatened under the National Service Training Act 2003 with imprisonment of up to 6 months or RM3000 fine for failing to enroll in the NS even if it is non essential to the security of our country being non-military and more outbound bound akin in nature unlike NS programmes elsewhere!

    In the case of turning TARRC to sport center, he is confident that he would get his way with British authorities. It was reported by Hertfordshire Mercury on 21st July 2006 that he would leverage an arms deal with Britain to persuade authorities there to allow the sports centre to be established in the Green Belt in East Herts – refer to this link : http://www.herts-essex-news.co.uk/news/mercury/hertfordshire_mercury/2006/07/21/arms%20deal%20link%20with%2073m%20leisure%20centre.lpf

    The portion of public funds saved in reducing the cost of such a sports center from RM490 million to RM69 million may be reallocated to more defence spending to procure British approval. What’s the difference? To BN leaders, in the end Money talks!

    The trouble is that it is our money!

  5. #5 by undergrad2 on Sunday, 18 February 2007 - 1:03 am

    “This has led Nadeswaran to ask: who gave the deputy prime minister wrong or false information on the progress of the plans to turn the Tun Abdul Razaak Research Centre in Brickendonbury into a high-performance sports centre and which would be fully operational by April.”

    There is a caveat here that has been all but ignored i.e. “God willing”

    Muslims precede their wishes with “God willing” – What Najib meant was “God willing, by April…”

    Does not look like God wills it – not by April.

  6. #6 by matrix on Sunday, 18 February 2007 - 8:23 pm

    Malaysian Government under Naji using leverage to get the project approved by UK Local Authority? Wah, it means, in UK, money can do wonders. No wonder those coloured in UK are being profiled by English bobbies closed one eye because they living on dole.

  7. #7 by shirley on Sunday, 18 February 2007 - 10:35 pm

    hey happy chinese year to y’all

  8. #8 by smeagroo on Monday, 19 February 2007 - 2:20 am

    a few millino here, a few million there. time to build up the war chest. This wont be the last “dubious” project and many more will follow to slaughter the rakyat. Plunder them now in order to stay in power to plunder more.

  9. #9 by mendela on Monday, 19 February 2007 - 11:00 am

    This sport center will help Malaysia to win FIFA World Cup, to win 50 Olympics Gold Medals and to win many other world sport events.

    This is one Sport Center Malaysia cannot do without.

    This sport Center will turn both Azlina and Najis into World Champions in heavy weight weight lifter and boxers!

  10. #10 by k1980 on Tuesday, 20 February 2007 - 8:41 am

    This sport center will help Malaysia to…win 50 Olympics Gold Medals, that is, gold medals in farting, crapping, bullshitting, bragging, self-aggrandizing, etc

  11. #11 by Kiasi on Tuesday, 20 February 2007 - 9:04 pm

    Some one is trying to jump the gun and creating a laughing stock for the government.

  12. #12 by kiki on Tuesday, 20 February 2007 - 9:27 pm

    Got 2003-election promised OPEN tender or not?

    (eh, do u want contract or not?
    30% commission, upfront please!)

    Another waste project by Barisan Naive.

  13. #13 by blueheeler on Wednesday, 21 February 2007 - 8:59 am

    Haha, the M’sian govt thinks London is like M’sia where you can build anything you want without a permit? Wake up M’sia, because you need to play by the rules on the international stage…

  14. #14 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 21 February 2007 - 9:17 am

    Will this Sports Centre be a ‘Hall of Fame’ or a ‘Centre of Shame’?

    Naguib & Azalina and most BN Cabinet colleagues have to BEGIN to understand that the era of extravagance and insanity has to come to an end. The ‘irrational exuberance’ (to borrow Greenspan’s words) on exotic projects that promises marginal and doubtful value to the nation’s sportsmen appears to much of the public eye as one of those many excesses thoughtlessly committed by BN politicians that plunders our country’s resources with so little payback and benefit to our natuin’s sporting excellence.

    On the balance, there is no justifiable rhyme or reason for such a spendthrift proposal.

    No politician should be motivated by persoanl greed and vested interests in ‘pushing’ for pet projects that can only swell personal coffers. Not that this may be one of those though its insistence and haste smacks of murky motivations. But for all those with nefarious intentions, it is a timely reminder of the remorse and pain suffered by such brash personalities like Ivan Boesky who in the aftermath of their ‘sins’ feel nothing but the stabs of guilt and regrets in their confessions: “I just want to say I am deeply shamed and I do not understand my behaviour. I have spent the last year trying to understand how I veered off course.” [Ivan Boesky was jailed for 3 yrs and fined US$100 million for insider trading. The offence may be of a different genre but the chemistry of guilt is similar!]

    So, again, may I ask, is this going to be a Hall of Fame or a Centre of Shame if the project goes on?

    Over to you Naguib/Azalina, just be sure your conscience is very, very clear and your hands are very, very white!

  15. #15 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 21 February 2007 - 9:54 am

    Guan Eng questions jump in cost for BORR

    BUTTERWORTH: How did the construction cost of the Butterworth Outer Ring Road (BORR) jump from RM410mil to RM700mil?

    This was the question posed by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng to the Government, adding that Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had previously quoted RM410mil in Parliament when responding to a question by Bagan MP Lim Hock Seng.

    “Now, we read in the newspapers that the amount is RM700mil. Why has the cost suddenly gone up?” he asked at a press conference at the BORR Sungai Nyior toll plaza here yesterday.

    Lim also asked for the concession agreement between the Government and BORR concession holder, Lingakaran Luar Butterworth Sdn Bhd, to be made public.

    “The public has the right to know the terms and conditions in the agreement,” he said.

    The collection at the Sungai Nyior toll has been deferred till further notice following public objection.

  16. #16 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 22 February 2007 - 8:04 am

    “Over to you Naguib/Azalina, just be sure your conscience is very, very clear and your hands are very, very white!” Hornbill

    They say if you seek equity you gotta come with clean hands.

    I don’t want to know where Najib’s hands have gone.

  17. #17 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 22 February 2007 - 9:54 am

    …//..I don’t want to know where Najib’s hands have gone…//..

    Defending and warding off slaps? that is, if you really believe in the post by our greatest rumour monger – RPK – in Malaysia Today : see link – http://malaysia-today.net/blog2006/corridors.php?itemid=2566

  18. #18 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 22 February 2007 - 11:57 am

    “…//..I don’t want to know where Najib’s hands have gone…//..

    Defending and warding off slaps?”

    Wow. NAguib – if he has the guts and any dignity left, he must now sue RPK for libel. Any ordinary man worth his weight in reputation would act to defend his honour and the integrity of his reputation. What more a DPM!And such public odium and more is surely intolerable.

    Then see how the sparks fly and Rosmah crumbling under cross-examination and maybe ‘slapping’ opposing counsel. I want a front seat in court.

    And for plaintiff Naguib, he should ask for US$100 million. That would be a surer and less controversial way to get his hands on RPK’s millions (if he is not already a church mouse!).

    But if as a plaintiff he refuses to be, then it must be deemed RPK’s words ring true.Then again, there were 4 other witnesses and eight eyes…or so it seems. Any of these eyes might blink under cross-examination.

  19. #19 by Winston on Monday, 26 February 2007 - 9:56 pm

    After everything has been said and done, there is only one way to resolve all these.
    That is, to spread the word that we cannot afford to have the BN government in power any longer to perpetrate any more scams on us.
    Spread the word to have this government booted out and the perpetrators of these scams brought to trial.

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