|There must be a reason why everyone calls it "UKRC Field", right?|
Excerpts from a decade ago:
"And the pits of the issue: some developers are still trying to rob residents
of existing football fields!
The media have helped residents defend their fields against many developers
but the latest one involving the field at the Ulu Klang Recreational Club
will prove to be the biggest battle yet.
Because in this one the Selangor State Government has taken the
unprecedented action to throw its entire weight behind the developers and
against the protectors of football fields.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khir Toyo said there was need to relocate
squatters in a nearby colony and the field is the only space available.
(With the recent controversy over the "over-generous" awards of land in
Selangor, the question of available space should not have been raised!)
Khir also said that the developers will only take a portion of the field. He
did not say if this meant the residents would be able to still play their
football on half or quarter of a field.
I played a friendly at the UKRC field. The place was full of activities and
young people of various races. There were no guards at the entrance to stop
non-members from entering the grounds; this isn't a golf club, it's a
I can't see where football in this country is going if Khir goes ahead with
his plans to "take back" a field meant for the ordinary people - a field
that has been there long before he was born - in the name of development and
_________ - A Field for Killjoy, New Sunday Times 25.,5.2003
I wrote that piece 10 years ago, when Selangor was under BN. The story about our fight for the UKRC field was picked up by Jeff Ooi's Screenshots (Rocky takes on Khir Toyo). By 2004, credit to the Menteri Besar who must have seen the light, the Selangor government declared the field as "open space". It was a victory of ordinary people against greedy housing developers, one that would not have been possible without Mr Andrew Gopal and the fearless people of Ulu Kelang Recreation Club.
But today, the UKRC is forced to fight for the field again. This time it is up against the Pakatan Rakyat state government, the local council Majlis Perbandaran Ampang Jaya, and the Kuala Ampang Resident Association. The RA was formed only in January this year "to fight for the field".
As of Oct 1, the MPAJ has taken charge of the field. A guardhouse at the entrance has been demolished and the residents are "free" to play football in the fields without having to deal with the UKRC. One thing I must say, I disagreed with the UKRC putting up a guard house at the entrance of the field but the MPAJ has guards at the field, too, so what's the difference. And the local council is charging RM200 per game for anyone who wants to use the field, already!
Expect another long battle ahead. At least this time there won't be any developer involved. Or is there?
Read also The Star's Love labour lost.