Mr. Ameerali R Jumabhoy or fondly known as Ameer is the doyen of the Jumabhoy family, once known as the wealthiest non-Chinese family in South-East Asia was born in December 28 1925. While his family business had kept him busy in the latter part of his life, Mr Ameerali participated in India’s freedom struggle and also was involved in public life in Singapore for several decades.
“My father, Rajabali, shipped me to India, along with my pregnant mother and two younger brothers. My father was in charge of organizing the ships and getting key people out of Singapore. Until then, I had nothing against the British, but the way we were treated in the ship made me turn my back on the English. We were put next to the toilet in the lower deck—the whites took all the available accommodation on the ship,” he said.
He first attended Ismail Yusuf College for two years before moving to St Xaviers College in Mumbai for his Bachelors, when he also became part of the Bombay Students Union under Prabhakar Kashinath Kunte. Recalling an incident, Mr. Ameerali said he had been unable to sit cross-legged ever because of 23 an injury on his right knee, where the police had hit him with batons during a rally in Bombay, now known as Mumbai. After a strike in college, he was briefly jailed in the Azad Maidan police station.
He also narrated another incident in which he had joined two others to write a letter to the public, calling for a revolt during the Indian Naval Mutiny in Mumbai in 1946. “We went underground and surfaced only after Aruna Asaf Ali’s efforts ended the naval stand-off,” he said
After returning to Singapore, Ameerali took up various government positions and was solely responsible for drafting the country’s Employee’s Provident Fund Bill in 1955. The Employee’s Provident Fund Bill was later passed by the Federation Parliament.
Later in the late 1970’s Mr. Ameerali and other members of the Jumabhoy family expanded into real estate, developing their Orchard Road family property into the Scotts Shopping Centre – the country’s first managed mall back in 1982. He also began a food court, the first in any mall in Singapore, and created the country’s first branded serviced apartments at the Ascott in 1984. The Jumabhoy family under the able leadership of Mr. Ameerali controlled other business ventures, including the A&W fast-food chain, duty-free operations at Changi airport, plus major property holdings. At its peak Scotts had assets put at over $600 million from the UK to Australia. In 1996 Mr. Ameerali and his family sold the Scotts Holdings limited to Capital Land.
Mr. Ameerali Jumabhoy currently sits as Chairman of Wire Group. He is also a member of various Government Boards and Non-Government Organisations. Mr Jumabhoy accompanied and led 22 overseas missions to Europe,UK, South Africa,Iran, Thailand, Myanmar,Cambodia,Laos Vietnam and Malaysia. He has also accompanied former Prime Ministers Mr. Lee Kuan Yew,Mr Goh Chok Tong and the current Prime Minister Mr.Lee Hsien Long to India.
Mr Jumabhoy has made public address to many organizations in India, UK, Australia and South Africa. He is also the author of a book on “South Asia-India, Pakistan, Bangladesh –Towards new Horizons.