An incident involving a Malaysian woman and a property agent has sparked outrage and condemnation online. The woman took to social media last week (10 Jan) to share her experience of a racial remark made by the now ex-agent while house hunting.
The woman, Kalvin, revealed that the real estate agent she contacted, identified as Alan Chia, initially responded positively to her inquiry.
However, the situation took a turn when she disclosed her name and ethnicity, leading the agent to explicitly express a refusal to deal with Indian and Punjabi individuals.
I don’t normally do this but this is completely UNACCEPTABLE. Contacted a property agent, his response was fine initially, but immediately after obtaining my name and race, he was rude. When I questioned him, see what he says.
He blocked me right after. pic.twitter.com/UAhNUdFnih
— Kalvin (@kalvinderks_) January 10, 2024
“This is truly unacceptable. Today it’s against Indians and Punjabis. Tomorrow it’ll be against Malays,” Kalvin expressed in her viral tweet on X.
The post gained widespread attention, prompting the real estate agent’s company, IQI Global, to conduct an investigation.
Agent terminated from employment, releases apology video
In a statement responding to the incident, the company revealed that the agent had been terminated from employment based on both the investigation’s findings and the agent’s admission to the remarks.
After investigation and given Alan Chia’s admission of the facts of the issue, we have terminated Alan Chia with immediate effect and he no longer acts as an agent of IQI.
We have a very diverse group of staff and agents from different countries including Malaysia, Philippines,… https://t.co/Hnz0tE82RS
— IQI Global (@IQIGlobal) January 10, 2024
“We are strongly opposed to any form of discrimination and do and will continue to respond to it strongly,” the company asserted in their official response.
Following his termination, the former agent, identified as Alan Chia, took to social media platform X to issue a public apology.
In the message, Chia extended his apologies to the Malaysian community, specifically to the Indians, Punjabis and Kalvin. He expressed regret and acknowledged the gravity of his actions.
“For all Malaysians, especially Indian friends, Punjabi friends, and Ms. Kalvin, please accept my apology. I will take responsibility for what I did today. I deeply regret my actions and am currently feeling stressed. I sincerely apologise,” he wrote in his apology.
For all the malaysian especially indian friend, punjabi friend and Ms Kalvin. Please accept my apologise and i will be responsible on what i have did today. I’m very regret and feeling stress now. Sincerely apologise from me Alan Chia pic.twitter.com/2D9jMJZyP1
— Alanchia (@alanchia1993) January 10, 2024
Kalvin’s response to the apology
In response to the apology, Kalvin told Yahoo Southeast Asia that she was glad he apologised.
“Glad he did apologise. I didn’t intend to defame him as I understand he has his whole life ahead to earn a living. But I wanted to convey a strict message that racial remarks are not acceptable and never will be acceptable.”
She felt that property agents should not have preferences when conducting business, and that their role is to cater to the seller/owner’s requests transparently without bringing personal biases into the equation.
Kalvin concluded by encouraging others who face racial discrimination from property agents to lodge complaints with the Board of Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers (BOVAEP).
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