SINGAPORE – Mustafa Centre has almost everything you can find under one roof.That philosophy seems to apply to the boss and his family, too.
Not for the family of Mr Mustaq Ahmad, 62, the managing director of the 24-hour shopping complex, has built an $11 million, 10-storey apartment occupied exclusively by his extended family. And it comes with a swimming pool and gymnasium, reported Malay-language daily Berita Harian.
Recently, Mr Mustaq, 62, checked There are nine units of three- to five room apartments which Mr Mustaq, his wife Ishret Jahan, their four children and six grandchildren share.
The family moved into the modern building earlier this year.
The sleek and modern looking apartment certainly looks like the kind of home owned by a man Forbes Asia ranked as the 37th richest in Singapore in 2011 with a net worth estimated at US$240 million ($300 million).
Mr Mustaq is not the only businessman to own an apartment in the area. Nearby is a 12-storey apartment building owned by businessman O. K. Mohamed Haniffa, who owns textile company Haniffa on Dunlop Street.
Mr Mustaq – who occupies an apartment on the ninth floor of the building – was, however, modest about his new accommodations. He told Berita Harian: “It is only a home. The design may be a little different, but what is important is that the building is strong and safe.”
As he explained, the decision to build the apartment was a practical one. Apart from housing his immediate family, the building is also close to his office and his iconic mall on Syed Alwi Road.
Mr Mustaq, who walks to his office every day, said: “A home is the most important necessity for any person.
“Big or small, owning your own home is better than renting, which could add to your financial pressure.”
This is why he was in favour of building his own apartment from the ground up, he added.
Mr Mustaq, who arrived in Singapore from Uttar Pradesh in India at the age of five in 1956, said he bought the land between 1985 and 1990 for $6.5 million to build his two-storey bungalow.
The new 27,000 sq ft apartment building, which stands on a 10,000 sq ft plot of land, is now estimated to be worth $45 million, reported the Malay daily.
Mr Mustaq expects the price of his property to rise, but said: “This happened by chance, but we do not know what is going to happen in the future.”
“If given the chance to build an apartment like this at the (current) property prices, I probably could not do it again.”
Mr Mustaq also said he does not believe in spending money on property investments, a sector he sees as purely “speculative”.
He explained: “I never considered buying land and building an apartment as an investment.
“I only did it to put a roof over our heads so we can live together as a family.”
No time for property play
As for buying land for investment, Mr Mustaq said he has “no time” for such pursuits, preferring instead to focus all his energies on his business. This devotion to business started at an early age.
As a schoolboy, Mr Mustaq started out by helping his father and uncle sell garments at a makeshift stall that had been operating since 1965. Soon, he set up a garment store at Campbell Lane in 1971.
Two years later, he rented a space along Serangoon Road to sell more products and services.
Over the years, Mr Mustaq kept adding more space and products to his store, renting approximately 12,000 sq ft space in Serangoon Plaza in 1985.
Mustafa Centre is now 24,000 sq m of non-stop shopping with over half a million types of products.
The company has more than 1,900 employees.
The New Paper
Wednesday, Jun 19, 2013