PETALING JAYA: Bukit Gasing assemblyman Rajiv Rishyakaran has urged the government to set up a landlord-tenant tribunal, saying it can expedite the resolution of grievances between parties.
He said the process is both cost and time-efficient, saving plaintiffs the burden of tedious legal proceedings.
Rajiv said countries like the UK, New Zealand and South Africa have set up similar tribunals and Malaysia should follow suit.
“Some even have specific laws and legislations on tenancy itself,” he said.
He said although the tribunal was not the be-all and end-all solution to rental discrimination, it could mitigate the racial profiling landlords employ to protect their investments.
“A common gripe that many landlords share is the widespread belief that Indians never pay their rent on time. Indian tenants seem to be inclined to damage property as well.
“Many people have come forward with their experiences of being denied tenancy because of this profiling alone,” he said.
He said in jest that as a previous tenant himself, he had his Chinese friends make arrangements instead to bypass his landlords’ apprehensions.
Asked whether an anti-discrimination law would mitigate the situation, Rajiv said it was easier for landlords to keep their options closed than to risk dealing with a system that takes too long to implement.
“Even if racial preferences in listings are not explicitly stated, agents are quick to reject a prospective tenant when they realise they are Indian,” he said.
He said the tribunal would function as a safety net for both landlords and tenants.
“The elimination of worry and uncertainties will help remove a huge part of racial prejudice as everyone is held accountable for their actions.”
In August, an academic and two politicians cautioned the government against hoping that a new law alone would end racial discrimination in the rental market.
This followed an announcement from the National Housing Department that a law, to be known as the Residential Tenancy Act, was in the works.