Singapore's rental problem: 'no Indians, no PRCs'

Written by PTI | Singapore | Updated: May 3 2014, 01:42am hrs
Indian and Chinese expatriates are facing increasing discrimination in Singapore with rental websites putting up advertisements saying "no Indians, no PRCs," according to a media report.

A report on the BBC says it is not clear how many foreign workers have been affected because of the bias against migrants from India and People's Republic of China. However, several expatriates have described experiencing varying levels of discrimination.

The report quoted an Indian expat saying his agent told him that many landlords would refuse to rent to him because "Indians always cook smelly curries."

A estate agent made similar points, saying that landlords were less willing to rent to Indian and mainland Chinese tenants as they believed they would not maintain the property well.

The issue appears more common with less-expensive properties and on sites where content is posted directly by users, such as Gumtree.

A count on April 24 found that there were more than 160 housing advertisements on the website PropertyGuru that clearly stated that the landlord did not wish to rent to Indians and/or mainland Chinese, according to the report.

"There are stereotypes that people have about different immigrant groups and how responsible they are in terms of the upkeep of a rented apartment," Mathew Mathews, a senior research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, said.

Ethnically a diverse nation, Singapore consists of 74 per cent Chinese, 13 per cent Malay, 9 per cent Indian and 3 per cent from other groups.

But, as 90 per cent of Singaporean households own their homes, a significant portion of renters are foreigners.

Local people blame foreigners for living cost increase and a spike in housing prices.

Racial issues deepened when in December hundreds of migrant workers from India and South Asia rioted after an Indian was killed in a bus accident.

The December 8 incident, worst violence in Singapore in 40 years, saw several Indians deported and sentenced to varying prison terms.

The incident sparked a strong response on social media, denouncing foreign workers.