Sugar daddies and sugar babies have been dominating the headlines recently.
First, SeekingArrangement, the world's largest sugar dating site, came up with a survey which claimed that there are more than 1.6 million sugar daddies in Asia.
Then Sugarbook, Malaysia's first sugar dating platform published "survey results" showing that over 12,000 students from higher learning institutions in Malaysia were registered with the app.
They also went as far as pinpointing which universities had the highest number of sugar babies, but we're taking it with a GIGANTIC pinch of salt because they never really explained how they came up with the "data".
Anywaaaaaay, following all these "reports" (sorry ar
, we just can't help but use quotation marks all over the place cause it's just too dodgy la
) , the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) have decided to investigate Sugarbook.
MCMC looking into the matter
According to a report by Berita Harian
, MCMC chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek said initial investigations were aimed at identifying if Sugarbook was registered in Malaysia.
He said the investigation would also include examining the traffic tracking aspect of the application and several other scopes as a whole.
If Sugarbook is found to be promoting prostitution or immoral activities, the matter would be handed over to the police.
"We can take legal action on this application if it is registered in Malaysia and has a transaction (related to immoral lifestyle) that actually happened.
"MCMC cannot rely on allegations alone," he said when contacted by Berita Harian.
On calls for the app to be banned, Dr Fadhlullah said MCMC must have strong reasonings based on the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, before doing this.
"MACC needs to be fair because there are many 'dating sites' in Malaysia besides Sugarbook. The public is advised to refrain from accessing this application if it goes against their respective beliefs or practices until the investigations are complete," he said.
Police launch investigations against Sugarbook
Meanwhile, a report by The Star
also detailed that the police had launched investigations against the site after a university lodged a report on the matter.
Bukit Aman CID director Comm Datuk Huzir Mohamed urged other universities and colleges to come forward to the police if they have information on sugar daddy or sugar baby activities as well.
He said the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants (Atipsom) unit (D3) and the anti-vice, gambling and secret societies division (D7) would lead the investigations.
"We are investigating under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code for making statements that lead to public alarm and distress as well as Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 for improper use of network facilities.
"We are conducting an investigation under Section 372 of the Penal Code for prostitution," he told The Star.
A closer look at Sugarbook
A 2019 report by Entrepreneur.com
detailed that Sugarbook was founded by 33-year-old Darren Chan in 2017.
A quick Google search instantly brings you the main page of "The #1 Sugar Daddy Dating Site".
The meta description for the site reads "Sugarbook is an online dating site to meet sugar daddies & sugar babies. Build relationships, discuss allowances and get paid instantly."
There is no fee to be a member.
For those who are unfamiliar with the terms sugar daddy and sugar baby, the site also defines them for you.
A sugar baby is an "individual who enjoys the finer things in life. He/She usually seeks mentorship, financial support and companionship from their sugar daddy under the terms of an agreed-upon arrangement. Most times, genuine feelings of love and long-term relationships form and grow."
They go on say that a "sugar baby could be a student, a single mom or simply a goal-focused woman who seeks a higher class of life. They often end up building a professional network of contacts through quality time spent with their sugar daddy."
There is also a third point which specifically talks about students being sugar babies.
"Sugarbook is made up of a large quantity of students in colleges and universities. These sugar babies often benefit from the mentorship, generous allowances, exotic vacations and shopping sprees across the globe."
What it takes to be a sugar daddy
Meanwhile, according to the site, a sugar daddy is defined as a person who "has to have a solid source of financial backing. He does not have to be a millionaire, but his financial resources have to be sufficient enough to pamper his sugar baby. This is the first level of qualification to becoming a sugar daddy. For the first role of the sugar daddy is to provide for the financial needs of his sugar baby."
They then say that sugar daddies must be "chivalrous, respectful, accommodating, and caring. With security and good conversation flowing from a well-dressed gentleman, all a beautiful sugar baby needs is a hand that offers a seat, someone who opens the door, stays by her side and treats her like a respectable young lady.
The sugar daddy description page then states that every relationship in Sugarbook begins with both parties discussing their expectations and that privacy is key.
"The perfect sugar relationship is built with wealth and trust. Focus on helping your sugar baby maintain the fun and keep it between yourselves, the rewards a sugar daddy receives is mind-blowing!"
Sounds extremely dodgy to us.
Your body, you decide
To all the women out there. We are not trying to judge. It is your body, your life and yours to do what you want with it.
Our issue is with the glamourisation of the whole sugar daddy - sugar baby "relationship" and obvious lack of serious disclaimers for those thinking of signing up as a sugar baby.
Packaging sugar baby sites as dating sites is also another factor that should be addressed by the authorities.
Sugaring is NOT dating.
Adverts on sugar babies obviously target younger, lower-income groups. There is a reason for this.
The reality is that the dynamics, much like sex work, is based on a system where the body and dignity of vulnerable groups are exploited to feed the demands of the rich and powerful.
It leaves PLENTY of room for manipulation and exploitation - both emotional and physical.
That part should be highlighted. In fact, the words should be typed out in BOLD and an obvious disclaimer placed in a prominent part of any page promoting sugaring.
We should not be packaging this as something glamourous and it is definitely far from empowering.
Let's call an apple an apple lah
. It's not some exotic golden durian.