Tenants’ protection against racial discrimination in Malaysia supported by MIEA

Petaling Jaya, 28 December 2020 – The issues of racial discrimination among landlords in the renting of their properties has raised a concern among the Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) as, if unchecked, this may break the core existence of a plural society.

“While we respect the arguments that the owner has the right to decide who they want as a tenant, it should not go against norms and justice when certain races are precluded from renting. It is important to state that race has nothing to do with the capability of a person to service their rental obligations. We should be more concerned whether the individual, no matter the race, is capable of being a good tenant,” said MIEA President, Lim Boon Ping.

In Article 10 of MIEA’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, it is stated that all agents are “ethically and morally bound by law to treat all parties equally and not to discriminate any person for reasons of race, colour, religion, sex, handicap, family status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity”.

MIEA is concerned that such ethics have not be practiced by online intermediaries who then circumvent the protections.

Lim added, “In this respect, MIEA supports the government’s initiative to enact the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), which in general is a good move to protect owners and tenants. It should provide a win-win solution for both parties. MIEA is making a pledge to the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to address the issue of racial discrimination in this context.”

The RTA, currently being drafted by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT), is expected to be tabled in early 2021 and aims to protect both owners and tenants. Amongst the provisions will be mechanisms to address disputes. Currently, landlords and tenants have had to rely on a number of provisions in the National Land Code 1965.

– Construction+ Online