January 19, 2011

The "Waila City" Hype

The illegal and treasonous military regime is extremely gung-ho about their new friendships in Malaysia who will help them stabilize the economy through the "Waila City" project.

The principal backer of Waila City is Dr Sharifuddin Wahab, FORMERLY of Naim Holdings Berhad.

Naim Holdings Berhad, is an entity specializing in construction and holds swathes of land (approx 2,600 acres) in Malaysia in their land bank. Naim Holdings already have a physical presence in Fiji and are located at Ra Marama house, the Fijian Holdings complex. 

Naim Holdings relationship with the illegal and treasonous regime goes back to an allocation of a US$36mill contract for road upgrades in 2009 (but which actually broke ground in 2010).

According the Naim Holdings's Annual Report of 2009 they cite their investments in Fiji and the role of Dr Wahab as follows:
A Note of Caution – Sovereignty and Foreign Exchange Risks
We are fully aware of all the sovereignty and other political risks – as well as the foreign exchange risks – involved in our Fiji ventures. We have carried out extensive risk assessments for all known variables and are confident that the potential benefits of undertaking these two contracts more than outweigh any concomitant risks. The involvement of highly reputable international bankers in the financing of these contracts in Fiji adds further reassurance.

Our Deputy Managing Director, Dr. Sharifuddin Abdul Wahab, resigned effective 31 December 2009 in order to pursue his own interests. A further two long serving executive directors also resigned effective 31 January 2010, namely Ir. Suyanto Bin Osman and Encik Ahmad Bin Abu Bakar. We would like to thank all three gentlemen for their excellent service to the Group, and we wish them every success in their futurecareers.
Naim Holdings, apart from landbanks and construction, is also in the business of islamic bonds & banking, has already listed it's Fiji investments on the stock market, has done a bit of PR by offering scholarships (2!) in Fiji and has relationships with Libya.

In launching the Waila City project, Bainimarama extols the virtues of the military regime's self-inflated intention to respect the "right to housing"; snidely raps the Housing Authority and Public Rental Board over the knuckles for their "inability to think outiside the box"; and essentially claims that his regime will essentially save the day with this project.

In his speech Bainimarama eulogizes that:
The Waila City Project will be the first of its kind for Fiji.  A design and build concept where the Contractor will utilize its own funds and deliver completed housing solutions to the Housing Authority.
and that:
This Project also signifies what we can achieve through collaboration between the public and private sectors. In this instance it is Top Symphony of Malaysia, EXIM Bank of Malaysia, Housing Authority of Fiji and the Government of Fiji.

As announced in the 2011 Budget, Government has allocated $10million to assist families to invest in housing, in particular, in this Project

which begs the question whether the Waila City investors, particularly Dr Wahab, are really unilaterally injecting their funds into the project.

The regime wax lyrical about the "city within a city" assertion that it will meet the need for basic and affordable housing, yet it defies logic how this sector of the economy will be able to comfortably give a return on investment on all the bells and whistle's that the mini-city will contain.

Already some folks are eager to sink their money into this venture which in effect gives it a stench of a scam.

And that's probably why the poor folks up in Sakoca have had their rights to decent housing  commandeered away from them by landowners who are eyeing the Waila City hype and/or are being "managed out".

In anticipation of the hyped up "multiplier effect" of this "city", all those eager to board this new gravy train are (no suprises here) the retailers and the tourism industry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Naim is now quite the Fiji operator with not only the Kings Road/Wailotua job, but also the road to the Denarau. FB has been visiting Naim's owner in Malaysia since December 2007, first to secure the Malaysia Exim Bank USD$40m loan, a contract given to Naim, and now Naim is also offered the job funded by the ADB.. what else in store for lucky Naim??