SINGAPORE: In choosing a tenant, a majority of Singapore residents said they would prefer to rent to someone of the same race, according to a survey on race relations conducted by CNA and the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).
The survey, which was based on the responses of more than 2,000 Singapore citizens and permanent residents, found that Chinese, Malay and Indian respondents of all ages were highly accepting of their own groups, compared to other races.
Nearly nine in 10 respondents (89.8 per cent) said they would rent a room in their own home to a Singaporean-Chinese, but only half said they would accept Malay or Indian tenants.
Respondents were more willing to accept Malay and Indian tenants in another property that they owned – instead of rooms in their own home, the survey found.
“This is only to be expected, as renting a room in one’s own home would bring the respondent into closer contact with the hypothetical rental tenant,” said the report.
Chinese respondents showed a slight preference for new citizens from China as tenants over non-Chinese Singaporeans. About half (51.3 per cent) said they would rent a spare room in their home to a new citizen from China, compared to a Singaporean-Malay (40.8 per cent) or Singaporean-Indian tenant (38.6 per cent).
Indian respondents did not show a similar preference for new citizens from India over Singaporeans of other races.
The survey also found that Chinese respondents that had education below the secondary level were much less likely to accept tenants from other racial groups.
Fewer than three in 10 (28.8 per cent) said they were fine with Malay and Indian tenants, which was less than half of that for Chinese respondents with university education (66.2 per cent).
For Malay respondents, those with education above the secondary level were more likely to accept local Chinese and Indian tenants.
In comparison, Indian respondents with education below the secondary level were found to be slightly more accepting of local Chinese and Malay tenants.
However, respondents were more likely to change their minds if regular cleanliness inspections were allowed or if tenants “were not noisy”, researchers said.
About 40 per cent said they might change their minds if they could conduct regular inspections to ensure the house or room was properly cleaned and maintained. But more than a third (34.2 per cent) said that nothing would change their minds.
“Given that respondents were given a free response option to write other factors that were not asked about, this 34.2 per cent of respondents are likely fixed in their prejudice against certain groups,” said the report.
“No matter the behaviour of these groups as tenants, they would not rent to them.”