KUALA LUMPUR: Royal Selangor Golf Club (RSGC) members and others involved in the sport have given the thumbs down to the government’s plan to turn the club in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, into a recreational park.
The members said the proposal was unsuitable, citing the club’s historical value and the city’s already numerous parks, as reasons for the objection.
George Das, 68, is against the plan because there are more than enough parks to go around as it is.
“There are so many other parks in the city. What we really need is a playing fields for sports, not another park.”
The former sports journalist said the RSGC was an icon that was recognised worldwide.
“Many legends have played here, it has historical value and should be gazetted as a heritage site,” he said.
Datuk G Vijayananthan, 83, agreed.
“We have so many parks that are neglected and see few visitors,” said Vijayananthan, who was formerly the club general manager and sports manager, said RSGC was a premier club.
“We have many members who bring their corporate guests from around the world to the club. It is like a tourist destination for international visitors,” he said.
Another member who wished to be known as Qadeer was also concerned that the proposed public park would would end up neglected and abused.
“We have so many parks but many are poorly maintained, vandalised and end up being hot spots for immoral activities.”
Qadeer said it would be better for the government to use the money meant for the proposed park to build and improve sports facilities such as fields and courts.
Former Malaysian Sportsman of the Year, Koo Boon Jin, 72, said the government must compensate the club if it wished to take the clubhouse and land.
“We have no choice if the government wants the land, but the club must be compensated for it.”
“I am against the plan to turn it into a public park as the club is an important place for recreation, especially for retirees like me,” he said, adding that more than half of those who enjoyed the club facilities were retirees.
For V Nellan, 66, turning the club into a park was not a good move although the government’s intentions might be so.
“Of course I want to see the club remain, I was born the in the neighbourhood. My father was the club groundskeeper.”
Nellan, who grew up as a caddie at the club and later became a professional player and played in two golf world cups in the 1970s, said it would be a terrible shame to turn a club with so much heritage value into another park.
“If the government really wants to take over the site, then don’t do away with the golf course and clubhouse. Instead, turn the club into a public golf course.
“This will ensure that the club’s rich heritage is retained and the younger generation or those who cannot afford club memberships a chance to get into the game.”
On Oct 5, Bernama reported the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry’s announcement to turn RSGC into a recreational park.
Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the move took into account public opinions.
“However, it requires further discussion with those concerned, including the owners. The decision hinges on their agreement because we understand the nostalgia and history of the club.”
Rahman said there were no more golf clubs in the city centres in many developed countries.
As such, he said, the site was more suitable for a recreational park such as New York’s Central Park.
The Royal Selangor Golf Club was established in 1893 and is among the oldest golf clubs in Asia. Many of its members were former senior civil servants and diplomats. — The Malaysian Insider
News source: (The Edge)