From property to philanthropy – Mustapha Kamal’s legacy

After 27 years in the property sector, Mustapha Kamal is now immersing himself in philanthropic activities.After 31 years in the property sector, Mustapha Kamal is now immersing himself in philanthropic activities.

By Kamil Ridzuan

Tycoon Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar is already assured of a lasting legacy in the property world, thanks to the three entities he is synonymous with: Emkay Group, MK Land Holdings Bhd and Cyberjaya.

But now he is determined to marshal his considerable business acumen towards charitable efforts especially in environmental conservation via Yayasan Emkay.

Although Mustapha, 65, retired in 2012, the corporate world will always remember him as the feisty, charismatic, hardworking businessman who was partly responsible for building up Malaysia’s property sector into what it is today.

The raspy voiced Mustapha (pic), once dubbed the “King of Affordable Homes” is the chairman of Setia Haruman Sdn Bhd, which is the master developer of Cyberjaya. He is also co-founder of MK Land Holdings (he still owns 48%) and founder and owner of his own private firm, Emkay Group of companies.

Who is Mustapha Kamal?

After graduating from Universiti Malaya, Mustapha joined the civil service in 1970 as assistant district officer in Selangor. He rose to the post of Deputy Commissioner of Land and Mines before leaving to join the corporate world as general manager of Shah Alam Properties Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Berhad, at that time the sole investment holding and management company for Selangor.

As General Manager, he was responsible for developing a 300-acre land area in Taman Tun Abdul Razak, Ampang Jaya, Selangor, comprising housing and recreational facilities, including the development of a nine-hole golf course.

Mustapha was soon promoted to Managing Director and his diligence, capability and outstanding achievements in management caught the eye of the then Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Hormat Rafei, who appointed him as his Special Officer.

In 1983, he left Shah Alam Properties to venture out on his own, setting up what is now the Emkay Group.

Over the next 31 years, Mustapha worked tirelessly in property development, building up Emkay, and later MK Land and Cyberjaya (pic), to become one of the country’s most prominent property players.

Employees refer to Mustapha as an intense father figure eager to see them succeed in life, rewarding the more capable and loyal ones with lucrative partnership opportunities, while not hesitating to admonish when necessary.

Emkay today is a builder of residential homes, commercial buildings, resorts, purpose built and green buildings, having completed more than RM2 billion worth of projects on time in the last 5 years.

Cyberjaya, the brainchild of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is now home to 35 multinational corporations over an area of 2,800 ha, with the population set to double to 100,000 by 2016.

Having retired, Mustapha handed over the reins to his son Ahmad Kalif, who has taken over the helm at Emkay, while his daughter Felina sits on the board at MK Land to represent his interests. Needless to say, the patriarch also keeps a sharp eye on the empire from afar.

But with more time on his hands, Mustapha is spending more time with Yayasan Emkay, the foundation he set up in 2001, and which is the brainchild of his wife. It is a platform for the businessman to contribute to society, with the aim of helping the poor and neglected such as the Orang Asli, as well as environmental conservation efforts especially in the Royal Belum State Park in Perak.

“After being in business for 31 years and blessed with all that I have today, I personally feel it is time for me to give back to society and mankind,” Mustapha told Business Circle.

Opportunities, he strongly believes, should be given to all, especially the poor; thus his commitment to social welfare for the needy under Yayasan Emkay.

Not many tycoons do what Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar is doing. The businessman spends millions of ringgit of his own money conserving rainforests and breeding orang utans; and setting up dialysis centres and toy libraries and providing other assistance to the poor, especially the Orang Asli.

“I have been blessed by God. The least I could do is to give back to society,” said Mustapha.

What will he be up to in 2014? Mustapha says he will leave the running of his companies to his children, but will keep a close eye on things, especially as the Emkay Group continues to grow.

Emkay chief executive officer Ahmad Khalif Mustapha Kamal said the group expects revenue to rise to RM500 million this year, up from RM400 million in 2012, and growing to RM600 million next year.

Mustapha should be rest assured that his legacy will continue to thrive in the years to come.

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