KUALA LUMPUR – May 28, 2019: The Ulu Klang Recreation Club (UKRC) will submit an appeal to Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari for the return of its field from the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ).
Last Saturday, UKRC members held a solidarity gathering where signatures were collected for a petition to retrieve the field which was once a property of the sports club.
“The turnout was good and UKRC collected over 300 signatures to be submitted to the menteri besar for his kind consideration,” said club chairman Andrew Gopal.
He added that UKRC was set to submit the appeal by end of this week.
Located in the immediate vicinity of the UKRC’s club house, the field was managed by UKRC for 50 years until it was taken over by MPAJ in October 2013.
Ever since, UKRC has been locked in a dispute with MPAJ over the possession of the field.
Gopal told The Mole that UKRC members are not only upset over the unkempt condition of the field but also the fact that the local council imposes a booking fee on the public for its use.
“It is hardly being used now. In fact, it’s starting to be as if it’s an MPAJ staff field… their staff are allowed to play on the field for free, whereas the public would have to pay RM200,”
“The field used to be in such fantastic condition… but since MPAJ took over six years ago, the public hasn’t been interested in booking the field because it’s poorly maintained. Today, we just have a big wasted space there and that’s why we are very disappointed,” he said.
Gopal said the field was free for the public to use prior to the “seizure” by MPAJ.
“We had been lending the field to the public for the 50 years, when it was under our care. It was not exclusive to UKRC members,” he added.
Given the current circumstances, the UKRC committee also feels discouraged from having the club’s upcoming International Premier Football tournament on the field.
“We’re doing a very big international tournament where there will be participants from neighbouring countries, such as Singapore and Thailand… And we’re doing it outside of UKRC because the field is “unplayable.” Now we have to do it at a nearby sports complex,” Gopal said.
He added that UKRC’s battle for legal ownership of the field has faced obstacles for years.
“UKRC has been fighting to secure legal right of the field for more than two decades. This has been going on since the state was under the BN’s (Barisan Nasional’s) administration. From the previous government to Malaysia Baharu, it’s so difficult for them to do a good job!,” Gopal exclaimed.
It was reported that after the fall of the BN state administration in 2008, then opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and former PKR’s deputy president Azmin Ali had promised to give the legal ownership of the field to UKRC.
However, to their dismay, instead of getting the legal ownership of the field, UKRC had a rude awakening when MPAJ seized the field in 2013.
“Looking at his track record, the new menteri besar seems kind. Now we are seeking his consideration to honour Pakatan Harapan’s promise to UKRC,” Gopal said.
Asked whether Azmin, who is the Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman responsible for the area where UKRC is located is lending a helping hand to the club, Gopal said “He is too busy.”