Society's needs must come before profits

I followed the furore over the charging for the use of the National Stadium with concern ("Time to alter the Sports Hub model"; Dec 20, 2015).

We are seeing the significant repercussions that having a privately owned sports centre has on the use of its facilities.

Being a private organisation, the Singapore Sports Hub Consortium (SSHC) wants to get its investment back. But the various organisations are baulking at its booking rates.

This will mean that more events may pass it over as organisers try to find cheaper locations.

Instead of becoming the jewel in the sporting landscape and a showcase that Singaporeans can be proud of, the new National Stadium will become just another expensive location, out of the reach of most sporting clubs.

We see a similar problem with the privatisation of a public service like transport, where the focus on profits has failed to deliver quality service, given the frequent rail breakdowns.

We can see the same problem all over the world; it's simply a case of profits over community needs. Once money enters the equation, the needs of the society become a distant second.

I recall the times when I stepped into the former National Stadium as an athlete, and the awe it inspired in me and in many others. New generations may not be able to experience this.

Paying millions to rent the stadium is not the answer. Asking SSHC to reduce its rates is not the answer either.

The Government needs to take the bull by the horns: Take back the stadium and serve the needs of the nation first.

Peter Loon Seng Chee