Non-Malaysian work permit holders from the manufacturing sector are no longer allowed to rent a whole Housing Board flat as of January 1, 2017, and are only allowed to rent rooms.
“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.
The Housing and Development Board (HDB) had sent a letter on June 1, 2016, to flat owners who currently sublet their flats to non-Malaysian manufacturing work permit holders "to inform them of the change, so that they would have time to make the necessary preparations".
Hence, those currently renting were allowed to stay on until the expiration of their existing subletting approvals.
Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao reported that the rule change affects around 3.5 per cent 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.
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,” said HDB.