KLBA in the dark over new RM20 million Cheras badminton arena

Arena Badminton DBKL in Cheras was launched on June 28.

It was attended by representatives from Mah Sing Group Bhd, Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Kamarulzaman Mat Salleh, Bandar Tun Razak MP Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, and even the Prime Minister’s political secretary, Azman Abidin.

Yet, not a single representative from the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Association (KLBA) was present.

A full-page advertisement of the launch appeared in a local daily the next day (main image).

KLBA president Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos admitted he was not informed of the launch of the new stadium.

“No, I don’t know about the new arena being completed, and we weren’t invited to the launch,” was Jahaberdeen’s reply when asked about the stadium.

Jahaberdeen, a senior lawyer who is also the deputy president of the Badminton Association of Malaysia, did not comment further – leaving a question mark on the fate of KLBA.

The state body had been using the Kuala Lumpur Badminton Stadium in Cheras as its base, just before the venue was torn down in 2017 for redevelopment.

The new arena sits on 2.25 acres of land and has 12 courts in two halls. It also comes with a multipurpose hall that fits 450 people, a gymnasium, a pre-function lobby, an air-conditioned cafeteria, four retail shops, and covered car park bays.

The stadium was handed to City Hall by Mah Sing Group. It was reported that the local council will manage the venue.

KLBA, the guardian of the sport in the city, has been “homeless” since. Having developed some fine shuttlers over the decades, including Ong Ewe Hock and Liew Daren, young KLBA talents now train at private halls.

The lack of a home venue, however, did not stop KLBA from organising the Jejak Juara programme recently. Four schools – SMK Kepong Baru, SMK Sri Pantai, SMK Seri Bintang Selatan, and SMK Wangsa Melawati – will serve as bases to train young shuttlers from nearby schools.