M'sian Uses Local Property Website Data To Prove Blatant Racism In Rental Market
'Chinese only', 'Indian preferred', 'Rental for Malay family only' - these are terms often encountered by Malaysians when searching for a place to rent online.
Unfortunately, racial discrimination is still very much prevalent in the local housing rental market.
Wanting to quantify his own experiences, a Twitter user - known only as Pingalayen - decided to make an analysis on data obtained from a popular local property rental website to demonstrate racism specifically against Malaysian Indians.
He shared that it has been difficult for him to find a place to stay in Kuala Lumpur ever since he moved there."I left Alor Setar for Kuala Lumpur after Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), and ever since then I've had to deal with racism when it came to room hunting," he tweeted.
In his analysis, Pingalayen found that 45% of all listings in Klang Valley outright rejected Malaysian Indian tenants
With experience in coding, he obtained results from scanning almost 10,000 rental listings on the local website for race preference.
He found that only 19% of the listings accepted Indian tenants while the remaining 37% stated no preference for a race.
However, as Pingalayen explained, "The 'no preference' listings don't always mean Indians are welcome as the racial preference [is often] stated elsewhere or, from personal experience, agents will inform you of the preference only after calling them."
And he showed that he has been rejected by landlords even after they requested a photo of himself.
The 24-year-old also found that Malaysian Indians pay more rent compared to other ethnicities
"On average, Indians have to pay 19% (RM107) more in monthly rent than non-Indians," he said, showing that depending on the room type, Indians have to pay between 6% and 22% more rent than non-Indians.
So even if the property accepted Indian tenants - which is already difficult to find - they would have to pay up to 22%, or RM146 more, for the rental of a master bedroom.
Pingalayen also had graphs showed locations closer to the city centre have fewer listings open to Indians, and that rent disparity varied by location - he noted that Indians have to pay 21% more rent in locations such as Wangsa Maju, SS2, and Setapak.
Pingalayen notes that while his analysis was very basic, it confirms his struggles as a Malaysian Indian looking for a place to stay in Klang Valley
"I used to reach out to 10 to 15 agents at a time because I know most will turn me down on the basis of race," he said.
To address the issue, Pingalayen hopes that the new Residential Tenancy Act will be tabled by next year and will not be postponed again due to political instability.
In the meantime, he urged the public, especially landlords, to change their mindset and to stop judging potential tenants based solely on race and religion.