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Alias Villas - A transformation of Wakaf Al Huda

Alias Villas Completion & Handover of Units Ceremony A completion and handing over ceremony for the six (6) exclusive semidetached cluster homes at Jalan Haji Alias was conducted on Friday, 29 September 2017 at Alias Villas. Receiving the symbolic handover kit on behalf of Wakaf Al-Huda for two units at Alias Villas, 30B and 30E, were Sohibus Samahah Mufti, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram, Chairman of Chairman of Masjid Al-Huda, Haji Azman Kassim, and former Chairman, Haji Kamsin Pamer.

Bird’s eye view of Wakaf Al-Huda now transformed into a luxurious 6 units cluster housing. Formerly two half-brick half-wood houses stood on the the same premise.

WAKAF Al-Huda is now transformed after undergoing 2 phases of redevelopment where the wakaf land was fully optimised. Before the redevelopment, the total land area of the wakaf was at 2,828.63 m2, consisting of one mosque (Masjid AlHuda at No 34 Jalan Haji Alias) and two half-brick half-wood houses at No 30 and 32 Jalan Haji Alias. The land parcels for No 30 and 32 were zoned for residential development under Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Through the Wakaf Revitalisation Scheme (WRS), Warees Investments adopted an innovative two phases approach to unlock the value of the land parcel and ensure the proceeds from the land development of Wakaf Al-Huda be used to refurbish the mosque. Warees Investments entered into a joint development agreement with Wakaf Al-Huda, where the land development project would be developed by Warees Investments’ subsidiary, WHA Heritage Pte Ltd. In the early years, Masjid Al-Huda was formerly named as Masjid Coronation in conjunction with its main street, Coronation Road. It was built with wooden structures and styled with a close resemblance to the traditional Javanese mosque as most of the residents in the village hailed from Java, Indonesia. The rooftop was multi-layered and it had folding doors which were beautiful compared to homes in that


area. A new concrete mosque was completed in 1966. The recent transformation was done in two phases. Phase 1 development works at Wakaf Al Huda began in May 2014 and completed in Quarter 1 2015 through a develop-build-sell financing model, which cost about $1.2 million. Warees provided the advance funding for the cost of the mosque enhancement works in Phase 1. Subsequently, in January 2015 under Phase 2 of redevelopment of Wakaf Al-Huda, Warees launched Alias Villas - an endowment development built on a villa concept. Six prestigious semi-detached strata landed residential units were being built on the dedicated Wakaf Al-Huda – next to the mosque – unlocking the value of the land to generate better income for its beneficiary – the mosque itself. Built at $17.5 million with common amenities such as swimming pool and pavilions, Warees had been receiving viewing requests for leasing opportunities since October this year. Contact us at 68831114 or community@warees.sg if you wish to lease any of the brand new villa units, each unit is available from $9,000 monthly.

The symbolic handover kits for the remaining units belonging to Wakaf Ilmu and Dana Pembangunan (Muis), 30A, 30A, 30C and 30D were handed over jointly to Chief Executive of Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (Muis) Haji Abdul Razak Maricar and Deputy Chief Executive of Muis, Dr Albakri Ahmad. The event was witnessed by Warees Board of Directors, senior officials from MUIS, Al-Huda MMB members as well as invited guests.

“Newly enhanced features such as an office space and meeting rooms and a muslimah prayer space were added during the mosque enhancement. Barrier-free accessibilty (BFA) and accessible toilet features were catered for the ageing congregants and person with disabilities. The revitalisation works done to Wakaf Al-Huda has yielded positive results to both Al-Huda Mosque as well as the local Muslim community in Singapore,” Chairman of Masjid Al-Huda, Haji Azman Kassim.

The Red House received “Special Mention” at 2017 URA Architectural Heritage Awards ON 31 October 2017, the iconic Katong landmark, The Red House - an integrated development of 42 residential units, five shophouses and a bakery cafe at the former Red House Bakery site, - was given a “Special Mention“ at the 2017 URA Architectural Heritage Awards. Warees was commended for special efforts put in to revive the social

memory of a community landmark by bringing back its use as a local café. The bakery unit now tenanted by Heavenly Wang has resurrected an important social space fondly remembered by many familiar with the Katong icon. Warees took part in a smogasbord of activities organised by URA throughout November in conjuction

with this year’s awards, which included a presentation by Warees CEO, Zaini Osman at the NUS-URA Architectural Heritage Seminar on The Red House – Rediscovering Heritage and Reviving a Community Institution on 17 November 2017. Subsequently, on 26 November, a public heritage tour was held to share the story behind our efforts to resuscitate the iconic landmark.

Warees was commended for the efforts to bring in a suitable bakery cafe that revives the social memory of a community landmark. A public talk was held on 26 November to real estate professionals organised by Urban Authority of Singapore (URA).

Lessons in unlocking and multiplying value of wakaf properties in Singapore ALL Wakaf assets managed under Warees Investments is expected to enjoy a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 8.5% in net income for FY2018 compared to FY2012. This is attributed mainly to the improvement of the top line by 2.6% CAGR since FY2012 through attracting better quality tenants, negotiating for better rental reversion and achieving the highest occupancy rate of 97%. This is despite the uncertain economic outlook and muted retail scene. Warees has also implemented a two-pronged strategy through firstly, improving its operational efficiency in managing property assets and rolling out the 3-year Wakaf Improvement Initiative (WII), a major restoration and asset enhancement programme for deteriorating state of properties.

Overall, Warees strive to see through that Wakaf continue to attract good businesses operating in wakaf properties by keeping rental competitive, yet in line with market and providing affordable costs of maintenance, reducing time taken to occupy vacant premises, conducting a regular maintenance regime and managing customer complaints.

By having various Wakaf properties participating in WII, the tenants have been receptive to pay premium rental rates. This has led to a steady reduction in property expenses of 5.3% CAGR since 2012.

Wakaf properties still require a collective effort by tenants, the appointed vendors, support of the Muslim community and the understanding of the Wakaf beneficiaries.

With the recently passed amendments to the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), Wakaf is now allowed to have a separate sinking fund to embark on a strategy of funding growth opportunities by way of acquiring better yielding properties. Without the sinking fund, Wakaf may well have to disburse 100% of their net income without saving for a rainy day.

“We are happy with the service deliverables, although there may be some delay in prompt response when a facility issue arises. We are satisfied with the upgrading works done to the toilets and the aircon system at this wakaf property. We would like to suggest in the future a fire drill to be conducted for the building’s tenants and consider other enhancements including the lift buttons and the toilet’s flushing system,” LBKM Secretariat, Mdm Aliyah Said Khadaied



Wakaf Bencoolen was bequeathed by Syed Sharif Omar bin Ali Aljunied in 1832, the same person who introduced the first recorded wakaf in Singapore, Wakaf Masjid Omar Kampung Melaka. The property originally had one mosque and four dilapidated shophouses. The wakaf property was opened in 2004 where Muis adopted an Islamic finance for fund raising called the scheme of sukuk almusharaka. MUIS issued sukuk to investors and collected SGD35 million, while the trustees of the mosque provided funds. Through the joint venture with a musharaka framework, it enabled the development of the property which consisted of a new 12-story building, 107 service apartment units, three commercial office units, and three commercial shop units. The 12-story serviced apartment, Somerset4Bencoolen is currently managed by The Ascott Limited, a member of CapitaLand. It is centrally located near to Bencoolen MRT Station. Revenue generating from the leasing of the shop units are disbursed to its only beneficiary, Bencoolen Mosque. It is expected to undergo enhancement in 2018.

15 years of moulding Real Estate talents for the community IN Warees, we are constantly on the lookout for people with diverse backgrounds, educational field and expertise. The additional “X factor” which we normally look for is the passion to serve the community. We value diverse opinions from our team to develop innovative solutions that will benefit our end users and more importantly meeting the needs of the community. Warees has a team of 30 professionals from various fields - Finance & Accounting, Real Estate, Engineering, Architecture, Economics and Statistics, Islamic Finance & Syariah, Business Administration, Marketing, Construction Management and Project Management. We constantly develop our employees via on-the- job training as well as sending them for specialised and academic training to sharpen their skills and widen their knowledge, so that they can be an effective individual and

Employees at the WSQ Provide Go-the- Extra-Mile Service (PGEMS) conducted by EduQuest International Institute.

team member to better serve our stakeholders. We have tapped on government initiatives such as The Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) which supports the Skillsfuture movement to enhance competencies, productivity and encourage lifelong learning. We ensure that employees deepen their skills and ensure that their jobs are being transformed to enhance productivity so that they stay relevant with the ever-changing economic landscape. We also provide employee subsidy for academic studies, called the Employee Subsidy for Academic Development Scheme (ESADS). Employees who have served for a year and have demonstrated job competency and performance are eligible for a 50% subsidy on any work-related academic programmes or courses awarded by any recognized institution, subject to senior management approval.

Pilot Phase of Workplace Wellness Programme This year Warees launched its pilot phase of workplace wellness programme by leveraging on the Health Promotion Board’s (HPB) co-funding approved programme which provides a discount up to 80%. The objective is to incentivise good health experiences including mental well-being of all staff and reducing or eliminating health issues affecting staff’s health, work productivity and moral. Throughout the year, staff are introduced to the active lifestyle programme through fitness classes and a plethora of health and wellness activities. “The programme encourages me to stay active and lead a healthier lifestyle. As it is a company campaign, it keeps me motivated and makes me more disciplined,” said Farzan Aziz.

“Perhaps can consider early release bi-monthly to allow staff to attend fitness classes, thus, it will help to increase the takeup rate amongst the staff,” said Shahila Azlin Suleiman.

A strong organisation ecosystem starts by institutionalising the right behaviour from the start i.e identifying the skill-sets needed and recruiting the right professionals for the job.


Delivering confidence and value from management systems certification - ISO 9001 and 14001 and Business Excellence (BE) certifications - Singapore Quality Class (SQC) WAREES began its journey towards being a ISO 9001 and 14001 certified company in 2014 and managed to attain certification in 2015. This is a commitment by Warees to adopt total quality management towards managing our community assets since its incorporation in 2002. Documenting our processes instils discipline on all staff to follow standard procedures improving knowledge management within the company. Constant improvements to the processes, will eventually in

Corporate learning visits and conference hosted and attended by Warees in 2017

the long way contribute towards increasing productivity and efficiency and bringing cost savings. Apart from the international certification – ISO 9001 and 14001, Warees has begun its journey in pursuit of another internationally benchmarked Spring Singapore Business Excellence (BE) Standard – Singapore Quality Class Certification (SQC) – a journey towards excellence and a noble attempt to put in place a systematic approach that leads to improved business performance.

Knowledge sharing with regional partners/visitors BENCHMARKING industry visits from regional countries not only help to share our success stories but in its own functional ways involves identifying some shortcoming areas and making the necessary changes on the processes. This year, Warees received multiple regional visit requests from government sectors and tertiary institutions from Malaysia and Indonesia.

In addition, together with an impressive line of speakers and panellists from wakaf scholars and practitioners alike from the region, Warees was represented by its CEO, Zaini Osman to present a conference paper at the 5th Global Waqf Conference (GWC) 2017 from 16 to 18 October at Pekanbaru.

Amongst the few knowledge sharing sessions we facilitated both at Warees office and other venues.


Significance of Warees shaping the landscape of Muslim community institutional assets

The main prayer hall at Masjid Yusof Ishak has its key highlight - the mimbar which has a distinctive feature of an ornate floral design timber centrepiece handcrafted and fabricated in teakwood sourced from Malaysia. WHILE Masjid Al-Islah became the epitome of an ambitious brief, struts in step within a densely populated nascent Punggol Eco-town targeting the bourgeoning community of young families, Masjid Maarof and Yusof Ishak later ensued with a different intent – to meet the demands for prayer space, being positioned within its respective mature estates. While each mosque validates its position within the community behind its modern and progressive architectural expression, central to its design is the attempt to maximise its usage in meeting the demands of its various functions within a compact site. Behind their walls, the spatial configuration of each mosque bears testament to the close working relationship forged between project consultants and Warees in conceiving an overall welcoming entrance, a refinement in human circulation within the mosque, and an optimised flexible use of ancillary spaces such as classrooms into extended prayer areas and multi-purposed halls when required. Through Muis policy of

New facilities and accessibility features such as the ramp provides convenience to wheelchair and disabled congregants.

gathering public feedback, sharing expectations and forging a common vision via roadshows, Warees has also expounded on the brief with professionals within the industry an attempt to close the gap between modern translations of a mosque and its traditional architectural form by incorporating Islamic arches, domes and reviving the Nusantara archetype which has found comfort within the community. Such design-thinking and collaborative efforts with external consultants remain consistent even for mosques that undergo Muis Mosque Upgrading Programme (MUP). Being rolled out in phases since 2009, its objective was to provide methodical upgrading to mosques which have not been upgraded since 1990, and to support the Building and Construction Authority’s efforts to provide barrierfree accessibility features to meet the needs of the aging population. Yet to execute such a sound and responsive policy at times demands profound cogitation in

Masjid Darul Ghufran was conferred BCA Universal Design Gold (Design) Award in June 2017.

ensuring that new facilities and accessibility features truly meet the needs of congregants, assenting to the actuality of a constrained site. Instances in which mosques incorporate new lifts such as Masjid Al-Khair and Haji Muhammad Salleh (Geylang), the main objective is that the lift must be visible at the first instance upon entry into the mosque, and other accessible features are designed to be integrated within the existing mosque building envelope. In other instances, such as Masjid Sallim Mattar, the new lift shaft expresses itself as a secondary minaret. Masjid Al-Ansar is exemplary in exceeding this, in proposing to tactfully conserve its existing minaret and readapting it into a passenger lift shaft. Its almost total reconstruction also befits the needs of the community in terms of accessibility from its steep terrain and its new open plaza doubles as a large multi-purpose area where the public can simultaneously appreciate the minaret’s prominence while easily finding their way to the lift. It is only recently Warees has begun to extend its capabilities to the other community’s assets such as our madrasahs under the Joint Madrasah System (JMS). Having given the opportunity to assist Madrasah Aljunied in 2016 to revitalise its students’ learning and sports facilities, as well as general repair of its existing building premises.

Warees has expanded to render assistance for the purchase of a new site and design of the new Madrasah Al-Arabiah, which is expected to complete in 2020. In the pipeline, Madrasah Alsagoff will also undergo lift erection and other feasibility studies of upgrading works on its premise.

Meanwhile, Masjid Al Falah received BCA Universal Design Mark Platinum Award at 7 the award ceremony.


Profile for Warees Investments Pte Ltd

Warees Insights Issue #4 - Dec 2017  

Warees Insights Issue #4 - Dec 2017