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Keeper of heritage buildings

Learning about the history of some very old houses in Singapore is an interesting aspect of Mr Muhammad Izzat Afiq’s work in the Residential Leasing Division at Singapore Land Authority (SLA).

The project manager learnt that each 100-year-old black and white heritage bungalows in Districts 10 and 11 tells a different story.

“People always think that all black and white heritage bungalows are the same but when they were built, each estate was designated for a particular category of civil servants. The different sizes and grandeur of the property indicated the seniority and importance of the occupants,” the 25-year-old says.

For instance, the cluster of bungalows in Goodwood Hill were set aside for High Court judges and their families.

Mr Izzat’s fascination with the built environment industry stemmed from his appreciation of how the sector has a tremendous impact on people’s daily lives.

“In the real estate industry, many aspects such as property development, urban planning, real estate markets and the economy are inter-connected. These are all real, tangible developments that impact the day-to-day lives of everyone,” he says.

After his A levels, he enrolled in the Bachelor of Science (Real Estate) programme at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He applied for the SLA Local (Mid-Term) Undergraduate Scholarship as SLA’s mission to optimise land resources for the economic and social development of Singapore resonated with him. Besides, he was drawn to the diverse work scope and opportunities for job rotations that the statutory board could offer for career growth and development.

Not a desk-bound job

After graduating from NUS last year, Mr Izzat joined SLA’s Leasing Division. He is part of a team that manages the rental of State Land and Properties which comprises residential, industrial and institutional buildings.

As someone who loves the outdoors, Mr Izzat is happy that he is not settled in a desk-bound job. In his current job, he can be on his feet, overseeing and coordinating project works at black and white heritage bungalows that are rented out to tenants or meeting with various parties in the public and private sectors to discuss asset enhancement initiatives and marketing and development of state properties.

He also finds meaning in a job that contributes to the nation’s growth.

“In the context of Singapore where land is limited, SLA’s work — and by extension, my work — is especially critical as it impacts the public in many ways. Other than generating revenue for the state and keeping our tenants satisfied, our work also gives these heritage buildings a fresh lease of life as well as preserve architectural heritage,” he says.