The Straits Times says

Reclaiming sport here for the wider good

Sports enthusiasts and Singaporeans in general will be eager to see what comes out of the Government's decision last week to terminate the public-private partnership with SportsHub Pte Ltd (SHPL), the private consortium that has run the Singapore Sports Hub since its opening in 2014, in order to unlock the potential of the Kallang area over the next decade. The plans are ambitious, not least because of the scale of the existing infrastructure. The multi-purpose facility already comprises the 55,000-capacity National Stadium, the OCBC Aquatic Centre, a multi-purpose indoor OCBC Arena, and the 41,000 sq m Kallang Wave Mall, as well as the Indoor Stadium built in 1989. This massive infrastructure is poised for further expansion through plans to integrate it with the upcoming Kallang Alive project, which involves building the Kallang Football Hub, Singapore Tennis Centre, and the redevelopment of the Kallang Theatre, among others.

National agency Sport Singapore (SportSG) and SHPL agreed on the termination of a partnership that has been beset with problems. It is not that the public-public partnership model was flawed in principle, but that the interests of the parties were not aligned closely enough in this case. As a commercial entity, the SHPL naturally prioritised the quest for profit, while SportSG sought to further national interests by developing the local sports industry. At its inception, the model allowed the Government to benefit from private-sector expertise and financing, thus reducing risks to the public exchequer. But as the divergence of interests became clearer, it was necessary to decide whether public outcomes should take precedence over private interests in sport, which can ultimately also be considered a public good.

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