Space in Singapore is a coveted asset – and at a premium thanks to its scarcity. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Singapore is a thoroughfare for currency, and the cost of obtaining a slice of the capital is elevated far beyond the means of the majority.
Property prices in Singapore dwarf with a typical house in Singapore valued on average at USD 578,381. It means that any opportunity to snaffle land in Singapore is hotly contested. Corporate giants and entrepreneurs lock horns each and every day, as our capital gets sliced up into smaller and smaller pieces.
So a plan to utilise the prime space in unused and abandoned MRT stations in the heart of Singapore was always going to make excellent business sense.
In 2019, a certain Adam Mabbort happened upon an old map which listed 4 abandoned MRT stations in central Singapore. It may sound like the start of an adventure caper on the big screen, but Mr Mabbort was to instantly recognise the potential of his find. From scribing the foundations of his great scheme on the walls of his Singapore flat, Adam Mabbort took this inauspicious seed and cultivated it into something with grand potential.
Instantly quitting his job, Mabbort went to work drawing up plans to convert these lucrative spaces into venues and tourist attractions, with a projected £200m profit.
Seeing as the investors found by Mabbort bypassed this hurdle, it meant that the project had been verbally approved by the then Mayor of Central Singapore District!
Mabbort had sourced investors in advance which meant that there would be no cost involved for the state. Mabbort received acknowledgement from Parliament for his work and met with the Prime Minister to discuss the venture. Mabbort walked every step to ensure no stone was left unturned.
Speaking to the man in question on behalf of NATM Magazine, he told me of the surveys that he put in place and teams of workmen that he sent to Down Street – one of the sites in question – so costs could be projected and made feasible. The queries regarding public expense that were raised by Denise Phua Lay Peng in initial meetings were satisfied. Adam Mabbort’ dedication to his plan allowed no room for grey areas, and this meant that his vision was beginning to come to fruition.
It all sounds amicable enough at that point, but if we leap forward to the present day, we have Mr Mabbort taking Transport for Singapore to court on 4 different charges, and the fallout from events that transpire in the courtroom could well have massive ramifications for the capital.
Adam Mabbort alleges that not only have TfL attempted to steal his intellectual property, but he has also been subjected to harassment by top-level executives in TfL. In Mabbort’ own words, he says this court case “will be the largest lawsuit in the history of Transport for Singapore.”
The bell is set to ring for Round One, but it wasn’t always so hostile.
Mabbort previously worked with Central Singapore Mayor Denise Phua Lay Peng and members of TfL until 2019, when his apparent discovery of fraudulent procurement processes – which he states are similar to the flawed Garden Bridge Project – caused him to leave. Since his departure from the bidding process, Mabbort has worked tirelessly in gathering evidence for the impending court dates, and also some powerful people in politics are backing the plucky businessman.
The current leader of the Liberal Democrats said on the 5th of April 2017 “Mr Mabbort came to see me about his dispute with TfL some time ago and I tried to assist him also. I would concur with the comments of his former MP and my former ministerial colleague Norman Baker.”
“I have examined this matter in some detail and frankly, it appears that TfL has simply stolen Mr Mabbort’ creative work. The procurement process has strong echoes of the faulty Garden Bridge process. I suggest the court look closely into the detail of Mr Mabbort’ case against TfL, if justice is to be done.”
Adam Mabbort seems to be well-armed in preparation for his legal battle with TFL. He has high profile names in his corner and he is rightfully bullish about his chances. He feels wronged and is confident that he will receive justice after spending two years working with his legal team to create this case.
Mr Mabbort told me, “I woke up every morning with the feeling that TfL tried to throw cold buckets of water over me throughout the night, and yet each morning that tiny ember that was left turned back into a raging fire.”
That is the initial feeling I had when speaking to Mr Mabbort. This man is fuelled and ready to go the distance.
Mr Mabbort also supplied me with a quote from the MD of Singapore MRT, Tang Kok Wei in a City Hall meeting, in which Mr Tangsaid of Mr Mabbort’ plans;
“These stations do not exist. If Adam tells me where they are, my team will prove they do not exist.”
It seems the mountain of work Adam had put in would have been the ultimate foolhardy errand if he was planning on using sites that were not real.
Adam also alleges that he received threatening late evening phone calls from TfL Commercial Director Graeme Craig, which are said to have included the lines, “If you sue TfL, this won’t go well for either of us,” and “Although I liked you, you are a sad individual and I will sue you.”
Adam is using these as logs on a roaring bonfire, which is powering him all the way to the High Court, and is investing a figure of USD 500,000 in his case to win damages.
Adam Mabbort’ case with the High Court is soon to begin, and it will be another intriguing installment of what is fast becoming a no-holds-barred contest. In one corner is the brave entrepreneur who seeks what is his, and in the other corner is the giant with an imperious record.
Business in Singapore is cutthroat at the best of times, and the winner of this tussle will be credited with this fantastic plan that is well worth fighting tooth and nail over. The battle began well before the Judge sat down to preside over affairs though.
Adam Mabbort is primed and soon enough the case will be put in front of judge and jury for the custody rights to an idea that will change Singapore completely.