UKRC hopes to get back football field after 6-year tussle with council

Ulu Klang Recreational Club says the football field has not been properly maintained since the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council took control of it in 2013.

KUALA LUMPUR: After a six-year battle, a local sports club is hoping the Selangor government will give it back a football field it built.

The Ulu Klang Recreational Club (UKRC) has been trying to regain control of the field since the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) took it over in 2013.

The club brought the case to court arguing, among others, that the field is not properly maintained, but its application was dismissed. It has filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal.

The MPAJ denies that the football field is not properly looked after, saying it has a maintenance schedule (MPAJ pic.)

However, UKRC president Andrew Gopal said they have been informed that the state government is set to meet on the matter in a week’s time, and hopes Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari will give the nod for the field to be returned to the club.

The issue over who has control of the field started in 2003 when the state government declared it as a public ground. Then, in 2013, MPAJ officially sought to take it over.

“MPAJ sent us a letter on Oct 1, 2013, informing us that they will take charge of the field within three days,” Andrew said.

He said UKRC obtained approval to build the field and clubhouse in 1958 and the state government and MPAJ were well well aware of this.

Andrew Gopal.

“The football field was constructed in 1959. On average, UKRC has been spending at least RM50,000 a year to maintain the field. This money is acquired through sponsorships and donations from members and supporters, which include businesses.

“UKRC rents the pitch for RM200 per match. This money goes towards the upkeep of the field and toilets, which are open to all.

“UKRC is not a club that generates profit or looks for profit. We are more to serve the people and we want them to enjoy sports,” he said, adding that the club was open to all who wanted to be members and not just those living in the neighbourhood.

Andrew said UKRC would not mind handing over the field to MPAJ if they could maintain it and if the club was given due compensation, given that UKRC built and maintained the field with its own funds over the decades.

“Unfortunately, MPAJ doesn’t have the manpower and will to maintain the field every day in a way we’ve been doing for over 60 years,” he said, while showing pictures of the field which he described as in “horrible condition”.

A picture provided by UKRC showing chickens on the football field.

Some of the pictures showed chickens and dogs running around the field.

Andrew said, however, the club’s priority was not compensation as it would like to take back the field “so people can have access to a well-maintained football pitch”.

When contacted, an MPAJ spokesman denied that the pitch was not well looked after, saying they had a maintenance schedule.

Despite the club’s application to the Court of Appeal, Andrew hopes the Selangor government’s intervention can resolve the issue.

Dong Yoon Shin is an FMT intern.