Residential Tenancy Act must address racial discrimination | Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents

Residential Tenancy Act must address racial discrimination


THE Malaysian Institute of Estate Agents (MIEA) supports the government’s initiative to enact the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) which could protect tenants and landlords in the country.

“It (RTA)  provide a win-win formula for both the Landlords and Tenants. In this respect, we in the MIEA, representing the 25,000 Real Estate Practitioners make this clarion call to the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to address the issue of racial discrimination in the renting of premises,” said MIEA President, Lim Boon Ping in a recent statement.

MIEA said this move will be good for both parties as the racial discrimination issues among landlords should be taken seriously.

The RTA is currently being drafted by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT).

It is expected to be tabled in early 2021 and aims to protect both owners and tenants. Amongst the provisions will be mechanisms to address landlord and tenant disputes. Currently, landlords and tenants have had to rely on a number of provisions in the National Land
Code 1965. 

“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, that would be racial discrimination.

“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 what race, is capable of being a good tenant,” added Lim.

He cited the USA as an example where there is a law called “equal opportunity” where one cannot be denied a property to rent or sell based on race.

“Although most agents’ duty is to serve the landlord who is their client, we also have a duty of care to the tenants. As such, agents are taught and trained to reject any instruction by a client who looks for tenants based on racial preference. 

“On the other hand, we are concerned that such ethical practice does not exist on online platforms who are acting as intermediaries and thus circumventing the protections afforded under Act 242 (Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act 1981),” he said. — TMR