SINGAPORE - Singapore's first Islamic endowment villas were launched on Saturday by Warees Investments, the real estate development arm of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis).
Collectively known as the Alias Villas, the six semi-detached strata landed units, located along Jalan Haji Alias off Sixth Avenue, have a 99-year lease, and are expected to be ready by 2017. Each three-storey villa ranges 3,000 to 3,670 sq ft, and will go for at least $1,500 per sq ft.
The launch is part of an ongoing revitalisation scheme to enhance the asset value of wakaf properties, which are built on land bequeathed or willed by a Muslim towards religious or charitable uses. This 30,450 sq ft wakaf land parcel, bequeathed in 1905, also houses the 110-year-old mosque, Masjid Al-Huda. Upgrading works to the mosque began last June and will be completed in March. The $1.1 million upgrading cost is expected to be reimbursed from the sales of the adjacent villas.
"The whole idea is really to unlock the value of our wakaf," said Minister-In-Charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim, who attended the launch at Marina Mandarin hotel. "So this is a good example, how a mosque which has been bequeathed with a little piece of land. But we've been able to maximise it to generate further income for the mosque and for the beneficiaries of the wakaf."
Dr Yaacob added: "Clearly our wakaf is our asset and I think the duty of Muis and Warees of course is to try and maximise this potential because ultimately the benefit goes back to the community. So I think this is something which we are obligated to do and we will do our best with the help of the community."