The government has announced today that they will be looking into introducing legislation that will address racial discrimination in the property market, especially when landlords lease or rent out property.
Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin has said that the new law, which will follow a similarly internationally recognised law as a deterrent in Malaysia, as the government views racial discrimination in property-related matters seriously.
“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 was reported to have said.
Racial discrimination in renting property is still a thing in Malaysia with various advertisement and rental notices blatantly stating they only rent to a certain race or exclude a certain race. With those without, sometimes the landlord or agent would immediately reject those after seeing them in person.
Zuraida said that the government is currently studying international RTA to see how it could be applied here, adding that there should not be any discrimination hen it came to property leasing.
Currently widespread on social media, victims to these discriminations have begun voicing out their discontent, especially those who are mixed race. Some argue that it is the right of the landlord to lease to whoever they wish.
A recent case was a Chindian man in Penang who came across a room to his liking but was told by the landlord that it would only be rented out to a “Chinese Male”. Based on the IC and name of the individual Divyang Hong, he would qualify, however the landlord remained stubborn by saying that “We don’t rent out to mixed people.”
“A preference based on racial consideration is inherently racist. Even by explaining my position and eligibility and the fact that I am Chinese by heritage, name, AND it’s stamped on my identification card, I wasn’t “Chinese” enough because I don’t look Chinese,” Hong wrote on twitter