Ensure mega projects don't end up as white elephants

It appears that the public-private partnership between the private sector and the Government does not work when it comes to the Sports Hub ("Is the Sports Hub pricing itself out of the game?"; Dec 13).

The problems arising from a substandard pitch and leaky roof, as well as the race in getting the stadium ready in time to host international events, showed that the hub's management and the authorities almost could not come to a compromise - all because of the cost factor.

It was reported that Singapore Athletics was quoted $620,000 for four days' rental to hold its regional championships. This works out to a sum of $155,000 a day.

If this figure is used as a benchmark, then the National Day Parade (NDP) would cost $5.58 million ($155,000 x 36 - actual day and 35 days of rehearsals). Of course, an incidental sum for temporary alterations and subsequent restoration of the infrastructure would have to be factored in.

Even then, the asking price of $26 million as rental for an NDP event is indeed astronomical. Even to trim it down to $10 million is still too high, considering that taxpayers' money is involved.

Then again, the management of the Sports Hub has to consider the enormous capital cost, as well as the operation and management of the stadium.

Is this a case of business interest versus national interest?

We could draw a lesson that sometimes, it does not pay to be the world's No. 1 and finally end up as a white elephant.

Andrew Seow Chwee Guan