SERI KEMBANGAN, Sept 2 — For nearly a year, a condominium here has enforced a ban on “Africans”, disallowing them from even entering as visitors, regardless if they were invited by a tenant.
According to a notice sighted by The Malay Mail Online, any citizen of the continent caught entering the East Lake Residence (ELR) will be apprehended and handed over to the police.
Residents who dare to abet these “trespassers” will in turn be slapped with a RM500 fine, said the September 22, 2012, notice that was addressed to all owners, tenants and visitors of the condominium.
“Due to breach of ELR rules, causing nuisance and bad behaviour of visitors of African origin accessing ELR,” said the notice, which was signed “The Management”.
“The Management is imposing an immediate ban on African Visitors to East Lake by order of the JMB of East Lake Residence,” it said, referring to the Joint Management Board by its initials.
When contacted by The Malay Mail Online, the management and JMB of ELR declined to comment on the ban.
A source within the management, however, confirmed last week that the ban is still in effect, and had been the case even before the date of the notice itself.
“There was a case where an African visitor came in, and assaulted one of our residents. That is why we imposed the ban,” said the source, who refused to be named.
According to the source, every visitor to the condominium is expected to bring along their MyKads if they are Malaysians, or their passports if they are foreigners.
The security for ELR will conduct checks on each visitor’s passport to make sure that the visitors are not citizens of any country within the continent, he said.
“But it’s actually just to check against Nigerians,” he said, before conceding that visitors coming from the Middle East countries would not be denied entry. The list of Middle East countries also includes Egypt, which is situated in Africa.
The source admitted that there has never been any case of attempted entry since the ban was imposed, and no one has been slapped with the RM500 fine.
The ELR comprises five blocks, with 634 units measuring between 1,000 sq ft to 2,000 sq ft; valued at RM300 per sq ft on average. Rental for the fully-furnished units starts at RM2,100.
Developed by HK Land Sdn Bhd, ELR is marketed as high-end condominium facing the lakes of the Mines Resort City, a commercial area developed by Singapore-based CapitaLand Ltd.
It lies close to the The Mines shopping mall, Mines Resort and Golf Club, Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC), Mines Waterfront Business Park, Mines Wellness Hotel, and award-winning hotel Palace of the Golden Horses.
It is also situated on the same road as the South City Plaza shopping mall, which houses higher learning institutions such as SEGi University College and the Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU).
The Malay Mail Online had last week reported the unprecedented occupancy ban imposed by the management of Ridzuan Condominium in Bandar Sri Subang, Petaling Jaya against “African” tenants in August.
The decision came after a majority of the condominium’s residents voted at an annual general meeting (AGM) held on July 6 against renting their units to foreigners from the continent, whom they allege to have “caused a lot of nuisance”.
The ban is believed to be the first attempt of its kind reported in Malaysia after years of alleged discrimination and hostility towards the oft-maligned African community, including in mainstream media.
Despite being a continent of 54 countries with diverse and distinct ethnicities, cultures, languages and societies, its migrants are commonly pigeonholed using the “African” catchall, while the derogatory label “Awang Hitam” (literally, Black Fellow) is also used by Malay-language dailies in reference to their dominant skin colour.
The negative perception towards African migrants in Malaysia is believed to stem from the frequency of cases of drug smuggling, financial scams, frauds and sex crimes reportedly involving the group.
But it is also not a local stereotype. The ubiquity of online confidence tricks involving Nigerians, in particular, saw the global law enforcement community dub such swindles as the “Nigerian 419 scam”, with 419 being a reference to the country’s Criminal Code for fraud.
Malaysia’s Immigration Department reported that a total of 79,352 Africans entered the country last year.
The department also issued 25,467 student visas to Africans in 2012 to study in public or private institutions.