Covid-19: Sports facility operators in KL, Selangor feel the pinch but say still complying with CMCO

Real Fitness in Puchong is seen in this file picture. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Real Fitness in Puchong is seen in this file picture. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 17 — Sports facility operators in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, which have come under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) to contain the spread of Covid-19, are facing hardship after shutting their doors for business to comply with the order.

Even though the National Security Council (MKN) gave the green light for non-contact and outdoor sports with less than 10 people, it’s a no go for aquatic sports (swimming and diving), indoor and contact sports like futsal, football, badminton, gymnasiums and recreational centres from October 14-27.

Checks by Bernama at several facilities around Gombak and Kuala Lumpur found the operators adhered to the government order by closing their doors to customers.

A striking red closure notice till October 27 was seen at the Seri Siantan Sports Complex, which accommodates two swimming pools managed by the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS).

MPS Corporate Department Deputy Director Fauzi Ishak said though facing losses in income ever since the movement control order (MCO) imposed on March 18, the council complied with directives for the wellbeing of the public.

“Before the MCO, we charged RM4 for adults and RM2 for children, so monthly collection was around RM16,000-RM17,000. But before closure on Monday, collection was just about half.

“It is not very bad, just OK It is not much because we have to comply with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) like allowing a maximum of 16 people at any one time and not more than hour allowed for each person.

“However, what is important is the safety of patrons and compliance to SOPs to fight Covid-19,” he told Bernama when contacted after a visit to the facility.

Meanwhile, a gym owner in Old Klang Road, N. Rajaratnam, who was hit hard by the pandemic, shared the same opinion saying that while public safety is the priority, the facilities should be allowed to reopen with strict SOPs.

“For small gym owners like me, the income is not so big which was already affected since March. This two-week closure will cause additional RM2,000 loss because we can’t charge our customers when they’re not using the facilities.

“Anyhow, I complied with the government’s decision by shutting my doors. However, I hope that the government could allow our operation since we always sanitise the place after each customer,” said Rajaratnam, who is also the Malaysian Indian Bodybuilding Association (MIBBA) president.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican who visited three sports facilities on Friday — Radia Arena football field in Shah Alam, Sportizza Futsal Court and Fitness First Gym in Subang Jaya, said he understands the plight of the industry players.

“I have brought their plight to the highest level including writing and speaking to Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in the hope that the MKN can give consideration to activities related to the sports industry to be categorised under the economic sector and allow sports and indoor recreation facilities to operate.

“These include football fields, badminton halls, futsal courts and gymnasiums but according to the prescribed SOPs. I hope MKN will give this due consideration to enable economic activities in the sports industry to recover in stages,” he said in a statement. — Bernama

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