Wisma OCM

Putrajaya sees birth of Football City, but OCM boss insists on calling Bukit Jalil home

Three major sporting bodies are setting up their bases in Putrajaya. However, the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) is not eager to call the Malaysian administrative capital home.

Talks of OCM selling its 0.73ha plot of land in Jalan Hang Jebat, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, continue to linger as its administration remains adamant on moving to Bukit Jalil – 12km away.

OCM’s land currently houses Wisma OCM and Hotel Olympic Malaysia. It is located in the middle of a massive development plan that now sees the towering Menara Merdeka 118 across the road and a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station at its doorstep.

The area is set to become Kuala Lumpur’s latest central business district. According to a valuation carried out in 2020, OCM stood to pocket some RM100 million from the sale of the land.

OCM deputy president Datuk Hamidin Amin was earlier tasked to head OCM’s marketing, sponsorship, and relocation committee. Hamidin is also the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president and was present at the ground-breaking ceremony of the new National Training Centre in Precinct 5, Putrajaya – dubbed ‘Football City’, on June 26.

Besides FAM and the NTC, the Asian Football Confederation and the Asean Football Federation will also be based in Precinct 5.

Hamidin, when asked on the progress of the search for OCM’s new home said: “We are looking for a place, either in Bukit Jalil or Putrajaya”.

OCM president Tan Sri Norza Zakaria, however, insisted it has no intention of relocating to Putrajaya.

“We are looking for a place in Bukit Jalil to be closer to the athletes and other stakeholders,” said Norza.

OCM’s intention to move to Bukit Jalil had also received the blessings of Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh last year. It was reported then that a 1.08ha plot of land, near the Axiata Arena, had been identified for OCM.

However, no deadline has been set for OCM to move out.

The Sports City in Bukit Jalil is home to the National Sports Council (NSC), National Sports Institute (NSI), and the Bukit Jalil Sports School. It also serves as a training base for the national athletes.

There were moves for NSC and NSI to relocate to Sepang for Bukit Jalil to become Malaysia’s Wembley. The idea had been around for some time, and the plan was for the area to become a major attraction for locals and tourists, creating jobs and other economic opportunities.

In 2019, that conversation popped up again after then-Malaysia Stadium Corporation chairman, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, said he wanted to recreate the Wembley Stadium ‘feel’ in Malaysia. He had said that the MSC had planned to bring in “great restaurants, gift shops, and entertainment”, in and around the stadium. However, Covid-19 hit and the plans have not been mentioned since.

In 2023, Twentywo13 reported that for the NSC and NSI to move to Sepang, the Youth and Sports Ministry had to liaise with the Transport Ministry, as the earmarked land in Sepang belonged to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. It remains unclear if both parties had communicated regarding the matter, or if the plan was ever discussed in detail.

Separately, Norza said he would speak to Hamidin to see how he can help badminton coach Nova Armada get accredited for the Paris Olympics next month.

Women’s singles player Goh Jin Wei revealed on June 25 that Nova had not received a pass for the Games.

The Paris organisers distribute credentials proportionately, and Malaysia has received limited passes, as only 23 athletes will travel to France.

Hamidin, who is the Chef de Mission for the Paris Olympics that begins on July 26, had said earlier that Badminton Association of Malaysia coaching director Rexy Mainaky would help Goh in Paris.

Hamidin also said he would try to find a way to help men’s singles player Lee Zii Jia, who had requested for two additional passes – for a physiotherapist and a sparring partner. His coach Wong Tat Meng will receive accreditation.

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