KUALA LUMPUR: The government is looking into drafting new legislation to protect tenants against discrimination based on their ethnicity when seeking a place to rent, says Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.
“We are looking at drafting a Residential Tenancy Act to better protect landlords and tenants.
“The new law will include provisions against discrimination in accordance with international law,” she told reporters after unveiling the new National Housing Policy (2018-2025) on Monday (Jan 28).
She added that the government would look at the models used in Australia and Scotland in drafting the law.
A study on the proposed law would also look into the bumiputra housing quota.
The enactment of such a law comes under the new national housing policy and is set to be passed by Parliament in 2020.
The move comes despite the fact that Malaysia has decided not to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd).
Malaysia is one of the only 14 countries worldwide that have not ratified Icerd.
It was reported in a recent exclusive by The Star that one in five Malaysians or 21% of 1,204 Malaysians surveyed claimed to have experienced discrimination based on their ethnicity when seeking a place to rent.
The findings were based on a survey carried out by YouGov Omnibus involving 1,204 Malaysians aged 18 and above.
Speaking on the new national housing policy, Zuraida said that housing developers must obtain a Quality Assessment System in Construction (Qlassic) certification for new housing projects from 2020.
She said that the certification would be issued by competent assessors appointed by the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB).
This would ensure that the workmanship quality of houses meets construction industry standards.
Zuraida added that the government is still studying whether to impose the build-and-sell requirement on developers.
“The concept was introduced in the previous housing policy and was tried out on six housing projects but found to be not viable,” she said.
She said the current government is leaning more towards adopting the rent-to-own concept that had been successfully adopted in Penang and Selangor.
Zuraida added that about 180 developers would be participating in a property fair in March that would offer about 22,000 properties worth RM22.5bil.
She said that 24% of these properties would be affordable homes with price tags below RM300,000.