Not all landlords are racist
By John Isaac
It is surely a move in the right direction for the government to draft the Residential Tenancy Act to afford better protection to both landlords and tenants.
The government plans to study models used in countries such as Australia and Scotland when drafting the law.
However, one thing to note here is that Malaysia is a multi-cultural nation compared to others and with this, comes numerous religious sensitivities.
Yes, there is no doubt that some landlords can be very racist and prefer only to rent to their own race.
However, not all situations are alike and several factors need to be considered when drafting the act.
For one, a Chinese or Indian landlord may not opt to rent to a Muslim tenant for numerous reasons.
These may include sensitivities like the consumption of pork in the house and also the presence of a pet dog.
Many landlords these days allow their tenants access to the kitchen and to cook freely.
In this respect, a Muslim tenant may not be too comfortable using a kitchen which was also used to cook pork.
Also, renting a room out to a Muslim tenant where the owners have pet dogs may be very difficult.
The same applies to a Muslim family who may not choose to rent a room out to a Hindu tenant for apparent reasons.
Hindus do not consume beef, while for Muslims, eating beef is absolutely fine.
And of course a Muslim family will be reluctant to have someone who consumes pork under the same roof.
From my personal experience, I had no issues renting rooms in my condominium to any race, but there was a time, two Muslim students turned it down as there was a cross in every room.
A landlord must feel comfortable with the tenants he is living with and vise versa.
Some landlords are very liberal and allow tenants access to all their appliances, from televisions, refrigerators and washing machine also.
So, from this, it is obvious why certain landlords opt for tenants of a certain race - not all are racists, but have their own reasons.