Pattani Jaya – a new model town in the far South
Who would have imagined that anyone with common sense would launch a multi-billion baht real estate project in one of the three southernmost provinces hard hit by insurgency, let alone that the project would be a success?
Posters publicizing the project, officially known as Pattani Jaya – City of Peace and Better Life, have been seen lining the highway from Pattani to Narathiwat in the same way as the publicity of other property projects in Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai or Phuket.
The brainchild behind this ambitious project are Safie Baru, chief executive officer of Pattani Jaya Holding Company, and Dr Ismaeludfi Japakiya, the rector of Islamic University of Yala.
Pattani Jaya is not just an ordinary property project but it aims to become a new town of Pattani province. It represents an extension of the 500-million baht Pattani Place project launched in 2009 by another group of developers.
In an exclusive interview with Isra news agency, Mr Baru said that the Islamic University of Yala which has been operating for 14 years has wanted to pay back to the society. Since the university which is located at Tambon Khao Toom, Yarang district, has limited space for expansion, the administration agreed that a new site should be chosen for the expansion project which should include not just a science faculty but other facilities such as a hospital, a housing estate, a mosque and offices, he added.
Pattani was chosen as the site of the project because of its special characteristics and capacities in various aspects such as geographic position to be turned into a regional hub.
Attention has been paid by the project developer to every detail of the project, starting with the philosophy of the building design. "We have been influenced by the concept of Nabawee mosque in Albaneeh City which was regarded as the origin of civilization as far as peace was concerned. In light of today’s conflicts, it is deemed important that the example of Albaneeh City should be applied in the three southernmost provinces," said Mr Baru.
The project itself covers a land plot of 1,300 rai of which 500 rai will be reserved for a housing estate, office buildings and a shopping mall and the rest for non-profit purpose which will house a 116-bed hospital, a new faculty and an Islamic centre.
So far, 1,100 rai of land has been acquired and the rest will be bought up later on. The entire project is expected to be completed in 10-15 years.
As for the funding issue, Mr Baru said that the first amount of 50-milllin baht funding came from the savings cooperative followed by a 600 million baht loan from the Islamic Bank. As for the hospital project to be named after Sheik Kozim bin Muhamad Alsani of Ghatar, a 215 million baht in donation has been received from Ghatar and construction is now 30 percent completed.
More funding has been pledged for the hospital project by Ghatar.
Mr Baru further explained that the Pattani Jaya project aims to create a model society which is free from all kinds of vices and completed with a learning centre. The housing project will have seven villages providing altogether 2,000 housing units capable of accommodating up to 10,000 residents.
The main mosque or the Islamic centre will be modeled after the Nabawee mosque in Madina. In addition, each village will have a mosque of its own – all to be built with donations.
The first housing project boasts 110 units is under construction but 70 percent of the units have already been booked with the starting price for the smallest unit set at 1.8 million baht.
Mr Baru is optimistic that once people move in to settle in the housing estate, their attitude will change because the estate is free of all vices.
Regarding the economic feasibility and financial returns of the project, he explained that most property projects launched in the region did not reflect the realities of the region where Muslims comprise more than 80 percent of the population.
"We are confident that our project will be successful because we don’t aim at making profits but aim at educational promotion and for the good of the society as a whole," he said.