Four years on, Ridzuan Condominium attempts to ban ‘Africans’ again

Residents affected by the proposed ban speak to Malay Mail Online.
Residents affected by the proposed ban speak to Malay Mail Online.

PETALING JAYA, Nov 5 — After making the headlines four years ago for trying (and failing) to ban “Africans” from residing in their condominium, the management body of Ridzuan Condominium are at it again.

On October 24, they put up a notice stating that with immediate effect “individuals holding African nationalities” will be denied entry and not be allowed to rent units.

The notice, which was a result of an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held on September 30, gave exceptions to “African” tenants currently residing there but required them to vacate their premises by January 1 next year.

According to the notice, a “local area police station had already requested for information from the management on such tenants and further actions will be followed up in due course.”

The notice also demanded a levy of RM3,000 as deposit from “all foreign workers holding Foreign Worker Status visa or passport” which comes into immediate effect for new tenants while current tenants must pay up by December 1 if they wished to continue staying there.

Malay Mail Online was alerted to the latest discriminatory practice through an email by a Malaysian resident at Ridzuan Condominium who wished to be known only as “Lee.”

“It is with a heavy heart that I wish to highlight that there are some minority individual residents that does not welcome African nationals being granted the right to stay in Malaysia. This did not happen recently and it has happened previously in the same condo four years ago,” wrote Lee who referred to Malay Mail Online’s first report on the incident.

Lee further said that this was a minority view and when Malay Mail Online met him at the condominium, he said that this incident occurred recently when they had a change in management.

“I wasn’t there during the EGM but I understood it was only around 100 owners out of around 800 owners. Only 50 per cent of the residents here are owners as the other 50 per cent are investors who rent their units out.

“So, I don’t think this is the majority view but rather a minority one. If around 400 residents demanded their eviction, then it would be a different story,” Lee said while apologising for the management’s behaviour.

Ridzuan is an 18-year-old condominium situated near the PJS10 lake park, with units from 590-sq ft; rental starts from RM1,300 a month.

Residents are mostly families and working adults, and Ridzuan started out as a high-end condominium complete with a swimming pool, gymnasium and tennis court, but property analysts have noted a downward trend for its value in recent years.

The EGM notice as sighted by Malay Mail Online.
The EGM notice as sighted by Malay Mail Online.

Where the discrimination is blatant

The “African” community leader at the condominium, Chief Bede Onouha who is also a tribal chieftain back home in Nigeria, said the double standards practised by Ridzuan Condominium’s security guards was blatant.

“I feel that they don’t like us... they are like racists, sometimes the way they treat Malaysians is not the same way as they treat us. They would allow some Malays in without access cards. The same is not for our (African) people.

“They will ask us to register and won’t let us in until we do, even when our vehicles have the condominium stickers. They won’t do this to other foreigners, including Bangladeshis or others,” said the 38-year-old business administration student at Mahsa College who has lived there for three years.

Onouha explained there are roughly 50 residents from the African continent living in Ridzuan Condominium. Although many are from Nigeria, there are also nationals from Zimbabwe, Liberia, Somalia, Cameroon and Ghana.

Lee said that based on the local residents’ WhatsApp group chat, some of the complaints against the Africans include: littering, partying, drinking in public and being noisy.

However, student Don Murphy vehemently denied the accusations.

“We are well aware of Malaysian law and we respect the Constitution. We know we should not be drinking in public and when we wanted to hold a New Year’s party we put in a request with the management, paid the fees and adhered to the schedule they gave us.

“I have seen Malaysian residents leaving their garbage outside their units while we take our rubbish downstairs. I have seen Pakistani residents throwing water from the 21st floor while children are playing on the ground, but we are the scapegoats,” Murphy, who has lived there for three years, said.

Furthermore, Murphy believed the management’s actions were “racist” and “discriminatory” because his brother was asked to leave the swimming pool while wearing swimming trunks while another unknown individual was allowed to swim while wearing a pair of trousers.

African tenants mull next steps

Housewife Maureen Ikpe, a resident of six years who stayed through despite the eviction attempt four years ago, complained that even her children were not spared.

Apparently, someone threw water from their balcony at her kids while they were out playing. “Sometimes, they throw water, sometimes water bottles at their heads. Thankfully none of them were injured,” she claimed.

The unofficial community pastor, Don Oboms, who is studying for his doctorate in Business Administration at Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (Unitar) said he will take legal action if the management tries to evict him in three months’ time.

“My contract is with my landlord and he has no problems with me. I have shown him the WhatsApp message and he said he will get to the bottom of this. He also said he will not ask me to leave. If they try to evict me, I will get a lawyer and take them to court!” Oboms said.

Based on the screenshots they shared, it was clear that the landlords would take the side of their beleaguered tenants.

When contacted, an unnamed member of the condominium’s management body said that the decision to ban “African” tenants was made by the residents during the EGM and he could not say more.

On August 26, 2013, Malay Mail Online first reported Ridzuan Condominium’s decision to ban “African” tenants.

However, things quietened down after responses by then Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Seri Setia assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, then Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and lawyers.

No “African” tenants were evicted then. Will the same scenario play out this time round?

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