It’s out of our hands, MPSJ says on Kinrara Oval closure

Cricket enthusiasts, fans and trainees at a recent gathering at the Kinrara Oval cricket ground in Puchong  urged the state government to intervene and save the field.

PETALING JAYA: The Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) says its hands are tied over the imminent closure and redevelopment of the Kinrara Oval cricket ground near Bandar Kinrara, Puchong, as it does not have jurisdiction over the land.

Last week, Astro Arena quoted the Malaysian Cricket Association (MCA) as saying it had been given a notice to vacate the Kinrara Oval, which was previously a popular recreational ground for Kinrara residents, by Oct 31 as its lease had expired.

In a statement to FMT, MPSJ deputy corporate communications chief Azfarizal Abdul Rashid said the land belonged to Kinrara Housing Bhd (PKB), a Puchong-based real estate developer and subsidiary of property development company I&P Group Sdn Bhd.

“It is beyond the jurisdiction of the council as the land belongs to PKB,” Azfarizal said, referring to talk of the possibility of extending MCA’s lease.

However, he said MPSJ had yet to receive any application to redevelop the site for commercial use.

“Referring to Kinrara Bhd’s housing layout plan and the MPSJ local plan (2nd revision) 2020, the land is the property of PKB, which has been designated as an open space for private recreation.

“Until Oct 8, 2018, MPSJ had yet to receive any formal application from the developer to develop the site to build shopping complexes and condominiums,” Azfarizal said in the statement.

Kinrara Oval was previously said to be owned by Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).

Reports quoted PNB, a government-linked investment company, as wanting to redevelop the decades-old field to make way for a shopping complex and condominium project, which sparked outcry from players, supporters and cricket club chapters nationwide.

I&P Group is a wholly-owned subsidiary of developer SP Setia Bhd. PNB has a 55.93% equity interest in SP Setia.

Since it opened its doors in 2003, the Kinrara Oval, a stone’s throw from the LRT station, has hosted several international cricket tournaments including the DLF Trophy involving Australia, India and the West Indies, and the 2008 Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

The 5,000-capacity stadium ground also hosted the 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in August last year, when cricket was a medal event for the first time.

Kinrara Oval has also been lauded by the international cricket community for its upkeep and state-of-the-art field.

Cricket players, supporters and cricket club chapters from around the country recently held a protest at the site to show their unhappiness over the expiry of the lease for the Kinrara Oval.

Cricket enthusiasts previously told FMT that the field was one of very few in the Klang Valley with proper facilities and accessible to many, the other two being Bayuemas Oval in Pandamaran, Klang, and the Selangor Club in the city.

These are the only three cricket fields in the country. Many travel to Kinrara Oval – some from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah – to train.

Fans have also questioned how Kinrara Oval’s demolition will impact the progress of the sport in Malaysia, which was until recently stagnant for years.

The national cricket team won two medals in the sport at last year’s SEA games. The last time it bagged a prize before that was in 2014.

Astro Arena last week quoted MCA president V Mahinda as urging Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari to mediate in the matter, saying the future of the popular sport and thousands of Malaysian cricket players was now in limbo.

Former youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted recently that the issue was highlighted during his time in government, and was one of the last things he worked on before the May 9 general election which saw Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman taking office.

“I wrote to PNB as the land owner of the Oval to keep the ground. One of my last few letters at KBS (the youth and sports ministry).

“Also spoke to then chairman. Hope you can follow up. Public funds used to upgrade for @KL2017. Now to be shut down and taken away.”

Syed Saddiq, in response, said talks were already underway to keep the cricket ground from being redeveloped.

“We have filed our objections. Met up with the representatives as well. This iconic ground must be defended. Hopefully, the new chairman will hear our plight,” Syed Saddiq tweeted back at Khairy.

The PNB chairman is former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

MCA honorary secretary Iqbal Ali Kassim Ali told the New Straits Times on Saturday his group was waiting to meet Syed Saddiq.