Non-Malaysian work permit holders from the manufacturing sector are no longer allowed to rent a whole Housing Board flat as of 1st January 2017, and instead, only allowed to rent rooms.
However, those currently renting were allowed to stay on until the expiration of their existing subletting approvals.
This comes after the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on 1 June 2016 sent a letter to flat owners currently subletting their flats to non-Malaysian manufacturing work permit holders to advise the workers of the change to give them time to make the necessary preparations.
Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported that the rule change affects around 3.5 percent of HDB households that are subletting part or all of their flats. Notably, 52,394 HDB flats were wholly sublet as at 30 September. The HDB does not provide figures on the number of partially sublet flats.
“This revision in subletting conditions is part of the Government’s longer-term plan to house non-Malaysian work permit holders in purpose-built dormitories and approved workers’ quarters with facilities to better cater to their needs,” said the HDB in responding to media queries.
Meanwhile, Malaysian work permit holders are still allowed to rent HDB rooms and flats “due to the close historical and cultural similarities between Malaysians and Singaporeans”, explained HDB.