TTDI residents ready for futsal 'match'
Writer: Fahmi Fadzil
Published: Fri, 02 Dec 2011
A few Fridays ago, I received an email from my neighbourhood security-watch committee about a new project that had suddenly mushroomed in our little corner of Taman Tun Dr Ismail: a futsal court.
It was a nervous email, wherein the committee queried the residents what they thought about the project, the location, the timing of this project, and our general sentiments regarding the matter.
They also posted a photo, which made the project even more nervewrecking. It was of a billboard near the proposed site, and there was a date that stated the project began on Oct 27, 2011. Residents only realised the project was happening about two weeks later.
Suffice to say that the residents were jolted and up in arms about the matter. Within a day of that email, most of the feedback they received was evidently negative.
The committee subsequently planned a petition, and everyone who lived within that area was invited to sign the petition as a mark of protest.
I decided I would meet these organisers, learn a little bit more about the project, and decide if I want to sign the petition or not. And as a bonus, try and figure out why other residents may be against such a project.
Saturday evening. I drove by the terraced public field, but did not immediately spot the project site. I parked by the side of the road and walked onto the field, where I met the residents who had gathered to collect the signatures. They pointed me to the other end of the field to where the futsal court was to be built.
I walked over, and instantly came to realise how badly and poorly maintained this public field was – the grass was overgrown, litter everywhere, and playground equipment such as swings was clearly broken or rusting.
“Oh dear,” I thought to myself. “Once this futsal court is up and running – if the residents don’t put up a fuss, that is – would the court also face the same maintenance culture as this field?”
As I neared the planned construction site, I noted that the area had been fenced up. I spotted the DBKL sign. One side of the fence appeared to have been torn down, but why it wasn’t clear – it may have been kids who wanted to climb in to get their football, maybe. But otherwise, there was nothing else to suggest that the project had been initiated.
I walked back to the group of residents and asked them what they thought about the project.
“I don’t think we need this project, because Taman Tun Dr Ismail already has a futsal court just 2km away, at the community centre.
“Anyway, have you seen the proposed site? It’s so close to the road – what if those balls fly out and hit cars?” said one.
“Look at this field. I brought my daughter here and had to spend about 15 to 20 minutes just picking up glass from the ground before she can play. Glass! Can you imagine!
“I think, instead of building a new futsal court, they should spend that money to upgrade these already available facilities” was another comment.
“I think they’re just trying to make some quick money. It’s a project because the elections are close, no?” another naysayer opined.
All in all, there were nearly 50 residents who had signed their names within that hour.
While I am not sure as to the total number of petition signatories to date, for me this incident indicates a greater need for all levels of governance – particularly local – to be sensitive to these voices of dissent, as their grouses, at the outset, appear legitimate.
To ignore such discontent would be disingenuous, and bearing in mind the looming 13GE, it may be wise for any and all parties to listen to the people a little bit more.