KANGAR: Now that the Malaysia Games (Sukma) have been launched and the State Aquatic Centre is still not ready, the finger-pointing and blame-shifting has begun.
Perlis Mentri Besar Azlan Man and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had earlier said that the venue would be ready in time.
On Friday, National Sports Council director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong echoed their sentiments. He gave his assurance that the State Aquatics Centre would be ready in time for the Sukma aquatics competition.
On Monday, the centre still did not look ready. What's worse, the water filtration pump for the diving pool was being repaired midday on Monday following some issues which turned the pool's water murky. In addition, there was still paint work and side jobs still being conducted.
Main contractors Lima Corporation said they are not to be blamed for the delay in completing the State Aquatic Centre.
The contractors, who were roped in to refurbish the centre, have come under fire from all parties as the swimming and diving events are set to take place in less than 48 hours.
“We won the tender in July last year but only got the approval to build in January and started construction in February this year. So don't blame us for the delay,” said Lima Corporation's operations director Hishamuddin Abdul Hamid.
Federal Territories' diving team manager Lee Keah Chang lamented the condition of the centre.
Arriving on Sunday, the team had hoped to train early but the pool was not fit to be used.
“Usually, aquatic venues would have been ready 10 days before a competition. This is less than 24 hours. It just looks unprepared,” said Keah Chang.
“Then there is the issue of both the 3m and the 10m platforms which are seen to be overlapping each other which is against FINA (International Swimming Federation) rules,” he continued.
Contractor Hishamuddin however insisted that the platforms overlapped within the permitted limit.
Keah Chang feels that if the Aquatics Centre is to be ready by competition day, which is Wednesday, then the organisers and contractors need to act fast.
“I'm worried for the athletes. They are our main priority and concern,” added Keah Chang on Monday, before the team left to train at the Gunung Keriang Aquatics Complex in Alor Setar, Kedah.
Meanwhile, Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia (ASUM) secretary Edwin Chong was reluctant to be drawn into the issue.
“All the teams are already here and they've checked into the Games Village or hotels so it is a little disruptive to team preparations,” he added.
“But we're hoping they'll get it ready in time. Every Sukma venue is bound to have some minor or major problems. I think this is a solvable issue.”