MERDEKA STADIUM and Stadium Negara - two national landmarks and scenes ofsome of the greatest moments in Malaysia - will not be demolished as planned.
The Sports Ministry want the two stadiums to resume staging sportingevents, five years after the government had given the developer UEM thegreenlight to consign the historical landmarks into history.
Discussions to this effect are in the advanced stages between the SportsMinistry and Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Berhad, the current owners of the land.
This was disclosed to The Malay Mail by Sports Ministry's secretarygeneral Datuk Mahamad Zabri Min yesterday.
Pemodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) have taken over the 13.08 hectare piece of land from United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM).
The site, occupied by Stadium Merdeka, Stadium Negara and ChangkatPavillion, was acquired through Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd last year.
It is now owned by PNB's PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd. The government had granted UEM the right to develop the land in exchange for building two stadiums at Bukit Kiara and five stadiums at Bukit Jalil which were used for the Commonwealth Games.
"We are currently in negotiations with Danaharta on how best we can utilise the two stadiums. They are agreeable to the two stadiums being utilised for sports once again," said Zabri.
"This is because the owners have no intention of developing the site of the two stadiums for the time being. However, they plan to develop theChangkat Pavillion area but this will not affect the stadiums.
"Our immediate plan will be to ensure that the two stadiums conform to the safety standards required to hold sporting or other events."
"The mechanism on who will operate the stadiums has yet to be worked out but on our part, we intend to get the sports who were originally using thetwo stadiums to start using them again."
Zabri said that by re-activating the two stadiums it did not mean that the Ministry were intending to wage a competition between the two stadiums and the National Sports Complex.
"It is more to complement the needs of the sporting and cultural fraternity. It should be healthy rivalry and not something that should belooked at negatively."
Zabri said the Ministry also intend to offer office space to sports associations who need it.
"One has to remember that Stadium Negara once housed the offices of the National Sports Council.
"And with its location, I am sure it will entice many associations to move in there."
The proposal by the Ministry will indeed be welcomed by those in the sporting fraternity as there has been a dearth of sports facilities in the city centre.
In fact, the schools look to gain the most as many a time sports meets were held in the Merdeka Stadium.
As for Stadium Negara, it can be utilised for sports like netball,badminton as well as indoor hockey which was once played there between 1980 to 1983.