If you are an Indian in Singapore and looking for a house on rent, it is highly likely that you won’t get one. Most Singaporean landlords don’t rent their house to Indians and people from mainland China. According to local media reports, many landlords are open about it. The moment they realize that the tenant is an Indian, they say sorry and slam the door.
According to a report by the BBC, a quick glance at online rental listings shows many that include the words ‘no Indians, no PRCs (People’s Republic of China)’, sometimes followed by the word “sorry”.
The tiny nation Singapore is one of the richest in the world. An economic powerhouse, Singapore, is a country completely built by the immigrants. 74 per cent of the population is of Han Chinese origin, 13 per cent Malay, 9 per cent Indian and 3 per cent from other ethnic groups.
A police state or a ‘controlled democracy’ Singapore’s Constitution bans racial discrimination of all forms. It says, “(1)All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law. (2) Except as expressly authorised by this Constitution, there shall be no discrimination against citizens of Singapore on the ground only of religion, race, descent or place of birth in any law or in the appointment to any office or employment under a public authority or in the administration of any law relating to the acquisition, holding or disposition of property or the establishing or carrying on of any trade, business, profession, vocation or employment.”
But racial discrimination is rampant across Singapore. Most landlords don’t rent their houses to Indians mainly for three reasons. They claim that the Indians cook oily food with a lot of masala and the smell can be uncomfortable for the neighbours. They also say that Indians don’t keep the house clean and many of them sublet their house or allow their friends and relative to stay with them.
The property agents also advise the tenants to look for the houses owned by the recent immigrants from India or China instead of going to long time Singaporeans. The old timers are increasingly refusing to offer accommodation to Indian and Chinese nationals.
Singapore government says it is against such practices and there are advertising guidelines to follow. But the reality speaks of a different situation.