Penang Minister Calls For Anti-Racial Discrimination Law After "Chinese Only" Rental Case

He said such acts go against the foundations of peace and unity in Malaysia.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Dr P Ramasamy has called for the government to draw up an anti-racial discrimination law, after a Chindian man was refused a room to rent because he was "not Chinese enough"

Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy.

Image via The Malaysian Times

In the incident, 24-year-old engineering graduate Divyang Hong was told by the landlord of a Penang-based property he was interested in that they "don't rent out to mixed people". The landlord had specified that the unit would only be rented out to Chinese people, which Hong qualified in name, parentage, and government-issued identification.

Following the incident, Ramasamy told Free Malaysia Today that he hoped the government will look into drawing up a law to eliminate racial discrimination, similar to those against gender discrimination.

He added that in countries such as the United States, such a law exists in the form of the "Equal Employment Opportunity Act".

The Batu Kawan MP said that such acts of discrimination "goes against the foundations of peace and unity" in Malaysia

Image for illustration purposes.

Image via Saw Siow Feng/Malay Mail

"This is not something we hear of often in Penang, but it happens throughout the country and the whole world," he told Free Malaysia Today on 1 January.

"In the context of employment, there is still the practice among certain companies of hiring based on the basis of race. By right, priority should be given to those who are qualified and meet the educational requirements."

Ramasamy added that landlords should look at a tenant's ability to pay the rent, not at their race, religion, and so on

"If a landlord wants to rent out his home or his room, look at the tenant's ability to pay rent, not their race, religion and so on," he said, adding that he never faced such a problem when he rented homes from non-Indian landlords in the past.

"We will discuss [Hong's experience] at our Exco meeting but I give an assurance that the Penang government will take action according to the law."

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