KUALA LUMPUR: National coach S. Selvarajoo has appealed to the Malaysia Stadium Corporation (PSM) to allow the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) to manage the National Tennis Centre instead of privatising it.
Selvarajoo said NTC has played a pivotal role in developing the nation’s best players since it was completed in the 1980s and must be allowed to continue doing what it was built for.
“NTC Jalan Duta was built by the late Tun Ghafar Baba who was LTAM president and also deputy prime minister at the time. It was his vision to create a centre that would produce quality national players and it has achieved its goal,” said Selvarajoo.
“In the early days, the academy, led by Akhbar Baba, which was completely free, produced players such as V. Selvam, R. Ramachandran, Khoo Chin Bee.
“This place has produced many others since then, more recently players such as Christian Didier Chin.
“I have been told that PSM have to spend a lot to maintain this facility and I understand that they want to find a solution.
“Why not let LTAM manage the centre as no other party or company has as much experience as they do in terms of developing the sport. It is what they have done for the past few decades.
“LTAM should then maintain the facility themselves, perhaps PSM could contribute a small amount each month to help but then LTAM should come up with the rest of the maintenance costs through sponsorships.”
Selvarajoo added that he does not feel that NTC, which LTAM rely heavily on to conduct their programmes, is suitable for privatisation.
“At the moment we still have to pay for court usage but the rental fee is still reasonable and we have the flexibility to move to the indoor courts when it rains.
“It is also unlikely that the new company in charge will allow private coaches to conduct their training sessions here as they will have their own coaching programmes. At the moment there are a lot of former national players who earn their bread and butter here as private coaches, what will happen to these people?”
PSM are looking to give NTC a new lease of life by privatising it. The new company, to be given control of NTC, is expected to be a private tennis academy. It is required by PSM to conduct development programmes to help boost grassroots development.
The companies vying for the job underwent a final round of presentations last month and PSM are expected to make a decision soon.