Despite a public apology, a Malaysian’s Tampines 1 complaint alleging racial discrimination has been referred to the police.
Businesswoman Diana Hairul uploaded to Facebook on Thursday evening a screenshot of an email she received from a mall employee. The mother of four, who regularly rents spaces at malls to sell clothes, said she was shocked and appalled by the response to her inquiry about renting the Tampines atrium for a pre-Hari Raya fair next month.
“Hi Dee, We are not so keen to run a Malay road show as our target audience is mainly Chinese,” said the email. “Thus, we regret to inform you that we are unable to rent a space to you,” an employee of the mall replied.
Describing the response as “unprofessional and insensitive”, Hairul says the mall could have a least declined her request graciously.
Her Facebook post went viral, resulting in criticism on social media from the Malay community in Singapore. A swift reply from Tampines on its Facebook page the same evening said its management and staff apologised unreservedly to Hairul and the Malay community for the manner of the email response to her request.
“Under no circumstances is Tampines 1 discriminating against any race, and the management of the company would not tolerate such a position.”
It said the employee, who had signed off as “Jen” in the email, had been “dealt with appropriately”.
AsiaMalls Management, which owns the mall, says it has tried to contact Hairul but without success.
The company says no available promotional spaces are available at the mall until the middle of the year, with the atrium fully booked until August.
Hairul says she wanted to rent a space to host a fashion and apparel fair for one week in May, and had been asked by the mall to provide her intended merchandise mix for the fair. Her response had been followed by the email of rejection, which also included a suggestion she consider holding her event at the nearby Century Square, also owned by AsiaMalls.