Concerts, non-football events key to Bukit Jalil's sustainability

KUALA LUMPUR: While it may pain die-hard sports fans to see the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, home of the national football team, host K-pop concerts on its hallowed turf, such events are key to its financial survival.

Malaysia Stadium Corporation (MSC) chief executive officer Faidz Sanusi said the funding they received from the government annually was barely enough to cover the maintenance costs of the sporting venues under their management.

In addition to the National Stadium, MSC also operates the Axiata Arena, National Aquatics Complex, National Squash Centre, National Hockey Stadium, National Tennis Centre and Stadium Juara, among others.

"We used to get a grant of RM16 million (annually), but now we only get RM15 million," said Faidz recently.

"This amount is used to cover maintenance costs, including emoluments and utilities, and is barely enough. This is why we have to accommodate these events (to cover expenses).

"We are basically digging one (financial) hole and then closing it with this money (from events)."

In addition to hosting non-football events at the National Stadium, the carpark area outside is also frequently rented out to organisers who run a wide variety of events, from furniture expos and festivals to circuses.

The neighbouring Axiata Area is also regularly rented out.

The National Stadium is undergoing refurbishment, which will see the pitch replaced with zeon zoysia grass, as well as replacement of the drainage system. The electrical system, rooms and toilets in the stadium are also being refurbished.

MSC have also setup a nursery at the Kuala Lumpur Sports City area to provide a continuous supply of grass patches for the National Stadium.

"I have to stress that the National Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium that can host concerts and track and field events," said Faidz.

"We, however, will do everything we can to ensure the quality of the pitch is well maintained.

"This nursery is completely new. It was setup near the National Hockey Stadium and is a few hundred square metres in size.

"In the past, it took us longer to prepare the pitch for events if there was damage to the grass (from previous events).

"Now, we can just take patches of grass from the nursery and transplant it onto the pitch when required, so this saves a lot of time."

The refurbishment is expected to be completed in late September or early October.

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