Eliminating racism in Malaysia’s residential rental market

Speedhome, an end-to-end online rental platform, believes that the implementation of a law, education and the provision of insurance protection, can truly solve the racial discrimination problem in the residential rental market.

CEO Wong Whei Meng said in the early days, many homeowners would state that they were unwilling to rent their home to a tenant of different ethnic origin. However, through long-term education and insurance protection, 70% of homeowners and their tenants are from different ethnic groups.

 “However, I believe that the latest dispute between tenants and homeowners is only a single case. There are still many homeowners in Malaysia who will not refuse tenants because of their skin color,” Wong added.

He pointed out that many homeowners who reject specific ethnic groups are likely to have relatives and friends around them or personally experienced bad renting to friends. If the homeowner and tenant can communicate directly and make a fair tenancy agreement for both parties, the homeowner will most likely change their initial thoughts.

 “No one is born to discriminate against others. These beliefs are learnt through surroundings, and can be corrected through greater education and communication,” Wong said. 

In addition, he also welcomes the government’s upcoming legislation on the Malaysian residential leasing market. This will help to build a healthier development of the entire rental market. 

Problems such as homeowners’ unreasonable deductions of deposits, tenants’ inability to pay rent on time and damage to houses, can all be solved much faster.

Wong said he can understand the homeowner’s concerns regarding getting a good quality tenant, but using race as a criteria for screening tenants will have a very bad impact on the multi-ethnic Malaysian society. 

However, he believes that most Malaysian homeowners are “color-blind.” As long as the tenants maintain a clean home, do not engage in unhealthy activities and pay rent on time, the homeowners are happy to rent out their houses to tenants of different ethnic groups.

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