Source: Twitter / @pingster2008, ITB Tourism

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA — A Malaysian Indian last week utilised his coding background and data visualisation skills to shed light on alleged racism in the country’s rental market.

Twitter user @pingster2008, identified in several media reports as Pingalayen, drew data from scanning nearly 10,000 rental listings on a local property rental website for racial preference.

His analysis of the data he gathered found that potential tenants who are Indians “are rejected upfront” for around 45 per cent of all listings in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

Mr Pingalayen noted that listings containing “no preference”, which made up 37 per cent of the results, do not always indicate that “Indians are welcome”, as the racial preference may be included elsewhere.

In some instances, agents will inform Indian potential tenants of the preference “after calling them”, he added. Mr Pingalayen said that he has been personally subject to this.

Only 19 per cent of the listings accepted Indian tenants.

He also noted that locations closer to the capital city “seem to have fewer listings open to Indians”.

Mr Pingalayen observed that Indian tenants have to pay 19 per cent more than their non-Indian counterparts in terms of monthly rent.

This disparity is most striking for those renting a master bedroom or a middle room — Mr Pingalayen found that Indian tenants need to pay 22 per cent and 17 per cent more respectively than non-Indians.

While rent disparity for single rooms is not as high as the above, he found that Indians renting single rooms still need to pay 5 per cent more than  non-Indian tenants.

In a move to address the problem, the government in January last year revealed its plans to introduce a Residential Tenancy Act to “include provisions against discrimination in accordance with international law”.

Mr Pingalayen, however, highlighted that the proposed legislation may only cover “rental of low cost houses”.

Tenants living in more upscale areas may then still be vulnerable to discrimination in the rental market, he stressed.

“Also, with the current political instability idk if it will even be tabled,” Mr Pingalayen lamented.

Mr Pingalayen’s data and code repository can be accessed on GitHub here.

Separately, another Malaysian Indian took to Facebook in August to share his personal experience with racism as a tenant.

Diivek Suppiah recounted how he was met with a rude shock when he was suddenly told to evict the room he had paid all deposits and rent in full for, on the sole basis that the landlord had abruptly stated a preference for Chinese tenants.

At that point, Mr Diivek had already been staying in the unit for around two weeks.

He was told to “clear the master room” the same day he received the landlord’s message via the management.

“First of all, yes i am an indian, born & bred in *MALAYSIA* . You should have mentioned earlier that you only prefer chinese tenants, then I would have not even booked or recommend anyone to rent your unit,” wrote Mr Diivek in his Facebook post on 13 August.

While he did not blame the management “as they tried their best to fight the case for me”, Mr Diivek expressed his indignation against the landlord’s absurd request.

“By just giving 1 day notice, you expect me to *MOVE OUT*???? Well do you think that I am so free to move here and there. Its clearly showing that you are a very racist person,” he wrote, adding that it is unbelievable that such a mentality still exists in Malaysia in 2020.


Mr Diivek told SAYS that in the few days he stayed in the room, he had kept it clean and tidy.

The landlord, he added, was not unaware that he is an Indian when he signed the tenancy agreement.

“Why must Indians be treated this way? Why can’t Indians rent a room owned by a Chinese landlord? Why didn’t I at least get a proper one-month notice to move out?” he told SAYS, adding that it is crucial for people to know that “this is still happening in Malaysia”.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

Ambulance driver greeted with shocking sight of son’s body as he rushed to accident site during work

TERENGGANU, MALAYSIA — A Malaysian ambulance driver rushing to the accident scene…

Malaysian govt ready for Malaysia-Singapore cross-border travel starting 17 Aug

The Malaysian government has announced that it is ready for the cross-border…

PAS MP faces severe backlash over controversial remark on nurse attire

A Malaysian opposition MP faced backlash from medical workers and their associations for his remarks on the attire of female nurses. Amid concerns over the healthcare system, critics questioned the MP’s priorities and emphasized the practicality and functionality of current nurse uniforms.

Anwar lost majority support? Malaysia’s news source says the Palace won’t entertain such claims

Speculation is growing over a plot to remove Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim after reports emerged that 10 MPs are considering forcing by-elections. However, Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan denies involvement in any efforts to topple the government. An anonymous source stated that an unexpected change in government is unlikely, with any attempt to do so through the Palace deemed impossible. Political instability in Malaysia is expected to be resolved by the upcoming six-state elections.