KUALA LUMPUR: Golden Corporate Heritage Sdn Bhd’s RM1.2bil development to turn parts of Malacca into an Arab City by 2012 is progressing well, said managing director Hesham Fathi.
“The pillar structures are already completed on Pulau Melaka as we are planning for the grand opening by March,” he told StarBiz recently.
The company, a collaboration between Arab and local businessmen, is transforming parts of Malacca city, namely Pulau Melaka, Klebang and Kg Jawa, into an Arab City after the first proposal to build the project in Klang Valley fell through.
The state government has a 10% stake in the project through Chief Minister Inc (CMI).
“We feel that the proposed Arab City in Bukit Bintang was inappropriate because of the surroundings. When the Chief Minister of Malacca invited us to do the Arab City in that state, the approval was done in just five hours,” Hesham said.
When completed, the RM250mil Arab City project on Pulau Melaka, which is reclaimed land located off the Bandar Hilir coast, will have 240 lots offering products from the Arab world, including 10 restaurants specialising in authentic Middle Eastern cuisines and a museum with genuine Egyptian artefacts.
“We are not going to sell or lease these lots as we are going to operate them by ourselves. The completion of Arab City will create about 850 jobs for the locals,” Hesham said.
Meanwhile, piling works in Klebang will start in three months for the construction of an Arab healthcare city, according to Hesham. It was reported that the Klebang site, which covers about 4ha and investment of RM700mil, will also involve the construction of a five-star hotel, a water theme park, an aquarium and a floating restaurant.
For the Kg Jawa development, Hesham said the site would see an establishment of 12 Arabic restaurants and coffee shops from different Arabic cultures.
As the site is facing the Malacca river, it would be “tastefully” constructed with Andalusian-styled domes, he said.
“I would like to stress here that the perception of eliminating business people (currently operating) in Kg Jawa and their heritage buildings is not true. What we are going to do is to develop the area and build much better business bazaars for them. By this, we are helping them upgrade their living and income as we are bringing tourists from the Middle East to shop here,” he said.
It was reported that on April 2, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam visited Kg Jawa and agreed that the historical section of the village would be excluded from the Arab acquisition.
The state had initially intended to acquire the entire village comprising 84 lots and covering 6.34ha but agreed to scale down the project following protests by the MCA.