The property market is a game of race where the colour of your skin dictates if you get to rent the rooms or homes or not.
In 2015, R.age ran a story to investigate if college students face discrimination when hunting for rooms to let. Foreign students, such as those from Africa, faced the topmost prejudice as one Nigerian took over one year to get a place.
The Star recently exclusively reported that the Indians faced the most discrimination as four in ten (46%) of them experienced such discrimination. The survey had 1,204 Malaysian participants, 20% Chinese reported to have faced such discrimination, followed by the Malays at 18%.
A whopping 62% of the respondents said they have come across rental advertisements that specify only a certain race is eligible to rent the premises. It is no secret in our society but it looks like it may all change pretty soon.
So I was looking for a place to rent in Penang today. “Prefer Chinese Male”. But I thought I would qualify by virtue of my I/C and name. Spoke Mandarin on the phone the entire time:
“Oh, we don’t want to rent out to mixed people. Only Chinese.”
Malaysians, do better.
— Dɪᴠʏᴀɴɢ Hᴏɴɢ (@indiechindie) December 30, 2018
According to NST, the government is looking to curb racial discrimination when landlords lease or rent out a property.
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said she viewed the matter seriously and would push for a law by referencing to other parts of the world to stop the discriminatory culture.
“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,” said the minister.
Zuraida said such prevalence should not exist in Malaysia and the government will look at the models used in Australia and Scotland in drafting the law.
The law will also tackle on the bumiputra housing quota system. The new enactment comes under the new national housing policy and the ministry is looking to materialize it by 2020.
In the story by R.age, a tenant Ezriann shared that how homeowners regarded her lifestyle could potentially harm the property.
“Some of the homeowners said it was because they were afraid the Indian cooking would stain the walls and carpets, or that my prayers would disrupt the other tenants. I told them that I didn’t do any of that, but the answer was still ‘No.’ I felt robbed,” she said.
“Because I had the means to pay, I was often one of the first few to call and yet I got rejected because of the colour of my skin!”
In an investigative documentary, R.age set up three different races property hunters to see if the landlords practice racial profiling. One landlord allowed a Chinese to let the premise because she is “educated” while the Malay and Indian got a slap on their face with reasons such as “different lifestyle”, “the cooking” and “worried it won’t be convenient for you”.
You can watch the video on the next page.