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Malaysian Proves That Racism In Housing Rentals Is Very Much Alive

Malaysian Proves That Racism In Housing Rentals Is Very Much Alive

Math always beats opinion.

Anne Dorall

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A Malaysian Twitter user has proven another of Malaysia’s long-standing examples of racism: Malaysians of Indian ethnicity have a more difficult time finding and renting places to stay within the Klang Valley.

Twitter user Pinga noted that he had faced these issues since moving to KL from Kedah. To prove his point, he built a code that would allow him to extract data from a property website and quantify his experiences.

The results are not pretty.

Credit: Yusof Mat Isa/Malay Mail

Less Availability

To begin with, the racism is fully alive with around 45% of total listings explicitly denied to Indian Malaysians. Only 19% of listings accept Indian Malaysians, while the rest have no preference stated.

However, Pinga noted that 37% of “no preference” listings doesn’t necessary mean Indian ethnicities are welcome.

Preferences may be stated elsewhere, such as the description, or will only be declared by the property agent after interest is shown.

Credit: Pinga

Locations closer to the KL city centre have fewer listings available for Indian Malaysians as well, meaning Indians working in the city will need to live further away with a longer commute time.

Pay More In Rent

Across all room types, Indian Malaysians pay more in rent.

When comparing the rental prices of rooms that accept Indians and those that do not, places that accept Indians can see up to 22% more for their monthly rental- up to a RM146 difference in master bedroom units!

Popular rental locations like Wangsa Maju, Kota Damansara, and SS2 also see drastic price hikes for rental listings that are open to Indian Malaysians.

For example, the average monthly rental for a room in Wangsa Maju is RM619 for listings not open to Indian Malaysians. However, the listings that welcome Indian Malaysians have an average price of RM833- that’s a whopping RM214 difference!

Pinga notes that while the analysis is very basic, it confirms his personal experiences as an ethnically Indian Malaysian trying to find a place to stay in KL.

For other curious Malaysians interested in seeing the data for themselves, he has shared the code used for data gathering here.

He also urges landlords to change their way of judging potential tenants, especially when such judgement is based on race.

For the full Twitter thread, see this Tweet:


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