Wednesday, 5 August 2009


Federal government show interest in hosting the Asian Games
Haresh Deol
Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

MALAYSIA may bid for the 2019 Asian Games. Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) president Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Jaafar confirmed the federal government is considering the bid. While plans are not concrete yet, Tunku Imran stressed the policy-makers will have to decide quickly.

“We understand the government is interested in hosting a regional event and the next available meet would be the 2019 Asian Games,” said Tunku Imran.

“If it is true, then we have got to be serious and start preparing by looking at the inventory before the cut-off period in 2011. There are a lot of factors to look into — from expenditure, facilities, transport and security.”

Malaysia lost the race to host the 2006 Asian Games to Qatar while the government rejected plans to bid for the 2010 edition citing high expenditure.

It was then estimated the government would have to spend about US$366.128 million (RM1.3 billion) to host the Games.

The Chinese city of Guangzhou is the host for next year’s Asiad. Tunku Imran admitted the government must be willing to spend big in the build-up to the bid as evident in the no-holds-barred tussle with Qatar for the 2006 edition. Qatar won after promising large allocation of funds.

“We heard Dubai has shown great interest in hosting the 2019 Games. Thus, it is clear we have to come out with a lot of resources.”

Tunku Imran, however, was quick to point out that if the country planned to host another extravagant affair, it would need to plan and construct facilities. Malaysia hosted the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Sadly, several facilities have been under-utilised since.

In contrast, the organisers of the 2007 Korat Sea Games built facilities within their public varsities to enable students to use facilities of international standards.

“There were a few disappointments after we hosted the Commonwealth Games. The facilities are under-used. The Putra Stadium seems to be hosting more concerts than sporting events.

“Another big opportunity we missed was when we had so many broadcasting equipments during the Games but it all went to waste as we never utilised them to establish a sports channel. Even the International Broadcasting Centre at Angkasapuri is not fully used.

“We must ensure that everything we build has a legacy,” added Tunku Imran.

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