PETALING JAYA: The plan to set up the RM67mil High Performance Training Centre (HPTC) in Brickendonbury, London, is off – for good.
The Cabinet Committee on Sport, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, decided on Wednesday to scrap the plan to set up the facility out of the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre.
New Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the decision yesterday, saying: “This will save us a lot of money.”
He said the Government would not appeal to the East Herts Council to set up the training centre.
“Our feeling is that it is not right to go ahead with any more appeals. I spoke to Datuk Seri Najib about it (on Wednesday). He agreed with our proposal and asked me to inform the press,” said Ismail after meeting Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) officials at his office.
The East Herts Council shot down the application to set up the training centre in November last year because it would be built in their heritage area. There, however, was an avenue for the Government to appeal.
Former Sports Minister Datuk Azalina Othman Said initiated the RM67mil training centre plan. Three years ago the same Cabinet committee approved the setting up of the training centre out of the Tun Abdul Razak Research Centre amidst public outcry over the huge cost involved.
The project initially started with a cost of RM490mil.
Ismail said that Malaysia would look at alternative overseas training bases but for now the matter was not a top priority.
“We are thinking of sending our athletes to various countries. Why do we want to send our badminton players to train in London? It will not benefit them. We would prefer to send our gymnasts to Romania to train there rather than England,” he said.
Malaysia also have a good working relationship with China, Germany and Australia.
Although the Brickendonbury project is out of the picture, Ismail said that the ministry had not closed the doors on working together with England.
“Several universities with excellent facilities have offered Malaysia the use of their premises as training venues. It will cost less. We will look into it. But it is still a long way to consider this option as the Olympic Games in London will only be in 2012,” he said.
On his visit to the BAM yesterday, Ismail said: “It was only a courtesy call. We talked about the expectations we have in badminton at the Beijing Olympic Games (in August this year).”
He said the doubles pair of Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong had the potential to win a medal at the Games.