PUTRAJAYA: There is no need to keep harping on the issue of two advertisements of the “online dating” company Sugarbook as it has been removed from the LED billboard structures in Bangsar and Bukit Kiara.
In saying this, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa said the government, through the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had taken the necessary steps in directing for the advertisements to be removed as the content went against religion.
“This matter has been resolved. I was told by the Federal Territories Minister (Khalid Abd Samad) that the displays have been removed because it did not abide by DBKL rules.
“Therefore I ask for the public to not play up this issue because it has been solved, when we found it went against the religion, we do not allow it (to be advertised),” he told the media here, today.
Earlier, photos of the billboard advertisements went viral on social media with many voicing concern on the nature of Sugarbook’s business.
On its website, Sugarbook, using the tagline “where romance meets finance”, describes itself as a “social networking platform that helps build beneficial relationships with our society’s elite”.
One of the displays showed a young girl standing next to an elderly man with the words “Hey Sugar, Upgrade your love life!” underneath it.
Sugarbook is a Malaysian-based website set up in 2016.
On their website today, a pop-up message appeared saying they apologise if the site was loading slow, as they have been experiencing server issues following a “mass amount of coverage nationwide”.
“Why do some young people today place greater importance on money over values?”
This was the question posed by Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh when weighing in on the “real question” surrounding the advertisements for controversial “sugar daddy” online dating platform Sugarbook.
In a Facebook posting today, Yeoh said the existence of such dating apps and sites poses questions on the values of a segment of youths today.
“Let’s move now from billboard processes to its content. I have been told that there are many similar apps and sites online.
“The real question should be asked – why do some young people today place greater importance on money over values?” she said.
Sugarbook is a Malaysian-founded online dating platform which claims to connect “sugar daddies” or “sugar mommies” with “sugar babies” across Asia.
The former are often well-to-do older men and women who are willing to offer money, gifts or rewards to younger dates, or “sugar babies” in exchange for romance and companionship.
Yeoh said she supported the calls for the case to be investigated by the relevant authorities.
Controversy erupted after the company put up electronic billboard advertisements, in Malay and English, in Bangsar and Mont Kiara this month and images of the ads began circulating online.
It was later revealed that the advertisements had not obtained Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) approval prior to displaying them. These have since been removed.
Yeo said this trend should serve as a wake-up call to parents.
“This should be a wake-up call for every parent to see the challenges of parenting today. I believe there is a vicious cycle in this.
“Why do they not care anymore of what people may say? Everyone needs to step up effort… Parents need to stop delegating their duties to others,” she posted.
The Segambut lawmaker said the government, too, should deal with the root cause instead of fighting symptoms, while religious bodies should “stop living in denial”.
Why is approval needed from YWP?
Yeoh further took umbrage with the company chief executive officer’s (CEO) defence of the dating platform as a “women empowerment” tool.
“Worst of the lot is the creator of such an app to label this as a women empowerment tool. Shame on you,” the deputy minister added.
In responding to the criticism yesterday, founder and CEO Darren Chan claimed Sugarbook was built “to empower women by giving them a dating platform to choose freely what they want in an ideal relationship, without being scrutinised”.
Among others, he added, sugar babies are not illegal sex workers.
Chan, however, pointed out that the Malay copies of the advertisement had been approved by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP).