Racial discrimination among landlords may finally come to an end, as the government is looking into measures to curb this ‘distasteful’ behaviour.
House or room-rental hunters in Malaysia is probably accustomed to coming across advertisements with racial preferences attached to them. Some are not bothered by it, some think it should stop.
A survey conducted by YouGov Omnibus involving 1,204 Malaysians revealed that about 46% of Indians polled claimed to have faced discrimination. Others are Chinese (20%) and Malays (18%).
2 out of 5 respondents believe that racial preference in property advertisements is considered racism.
On the other hand, 32% of those surveyed believe that the landlords with racial preferences are simply making good business sense. Most of them in favour of this statement are Chinese (39%).
In a report by NST, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said the government takes this matter seriously, as racial discrimination should not be involved when it comes to property leasing.
“There is a law called Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) which is internationally recognised and we are looking at developing this existing act so that it provides protection against any racial discrimination for either parties — the tenants and landlords.”
She also told the paper that the international RTA is being studied to see how it could best be applied in Malaysia.
Recent backlashes on this form of racial discrimination came after a rant posted by a Chindian guy who was trying to secure a room for rent in Penang. He got turned down several times by landlords who preferred “male Chinese” tenant, just because he’s not ‘pure Chinese’.
A more recent case involved a newly married couple who’s interested in a house for rent in Old Klang Road but got turned down by the landlord due to their skin colour. The landlord somehow got a photograph of the couple prior to meeting them in person and cancelled the appointment because they looked like a certain race.