The announcement of the closure of Raffles Country Club (RCC) has come as a bolt from the blue for golf enthusiasts and many Singaporeans. The club is being closed to make way for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR). There is also disappointment among the employees of the club who are set to lose jobs. However, union members have assured them of compensation and retraining.
The club, which opened in 1988 and is one of Singapore’s oldest, will have to hand over the site to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) by July 31, 2018 — 10 years before its 30-year lease is due to expire on Oct 31, 2028.
The club follows in the footsteps of Jurong Country Club (JCC), which had to give up its land for the HSR terminus and ended operations last year. The HSR will take travellers from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur in 90 minutes, with operations targeted to begin by Dec 31, 2026.
According to the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), the decision was made after having “undertaken extensive reviews ... to carefully select and consider all options”.
RCC is located in Tuas, and bordered by Tengeh Reservoir and Ayer Rajah Expressway. More than two times the size of the Jurong Country Club site, it was deemed most suitable to run HSR tracks at ground level before it goes underground towards the Jurong East Terminus.
Spanning 146ha, the 2,650-member club has two 18-hole golf courses, as well as facilities including tennis and badminton courts, jackpot rooms, and six dining establishments.
RCC president Paul Singh said, “While the club is deeply disappointed to hear of the upcoming closure, I would be cooperating with the authorities.”
Golf club membership brokers said that the news has hit their clients hard, especially those who joined the club from JCC.
The brokers said that with the two clubs gone, golfers in the western part of Singapore would have only one option left: Warren Golf and Country Club in Choa Chu Kang.
Meanwhile, employees have been facing utter disappointment after receiving the news that RCC is to be closed.
M Karnan, a golf executive who manages a team of 21 employees, said, “We are all disappointed by the news. I will be waiting for more information from the club’s management before starting my job hunt.”
Mr Kunalan Kalildas, who joined RCC as a cleaner just a month ago, said he is worried about the club’s impending closure.
“I have no choice, I will find other jobs when the time comes,” he added.
However, help will be provided to the employees of the club. Desmond Choo, executive secretary of the Attractions, Resorts & Entertainment Union (AREU) said, “The club employees who are poised to lose their jobs will be offered help in the form of retraining and job-hunting. The union will also be working closely with RCC’s management to ensure that the affected workers are fairly compensated and treated for their loyal service to the club.”