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Govt Mulling Sugar Baby App Ban, But Are They Actually Illegal?

Govt Mulling Sugar Baby App Ban, But Are They Actually Illegal?

It’s a morally and legally grey area right now.

Anne Dorall

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Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary has asked for the government to take stern action against the parties involved in sugaring.

Marzuk noted that the app led people to commit immoral activities and should therefore be blocked.

This is something that is very sad for us. The application should be prevented from being used in our country as it encourages people to do things that are not right and violate the laws including shariah law.

Datuk Ahmad Marzuk Shaary at a press conference

Institutional backlash

The recent infographic that went viral, published by sugaring platform Sugarbook themselves, alleged that many students at tertiary education institutions were involved as sugar babies.

Students who are in universities for their higher education are alleged to be involved in sugar-relationships.
(Credit: Freepik)

Sunway University, which was alleged to have the most number of sugar babies, has released a statement condemning the information, while Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) lodged a police report denying the allegation.

READ MORE: Malaysians Online Blast Alleged Promotion Of Sugar Baby Lifestyle To College Students, Calling It Dangerous & Unethical

Higher Education Ministry’s Director General Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad released an official statement noting that they have reached out to the institutions in question. She noted that the universities denied the allegations and claimed that the information was inaccurate and slanderous. Sunway University claims that it is impossible to have 3,105 students involved in sugaring as there are only 7,000 students in the private institution.

The Higher Education Ministry will hold an engagement session with the Youth & Sports Ministry (KBS) , Women, Family & Community Development Ministry (KBWKM), the Malaysian Multimedia Communication Commission (MCMC), and certain NGOs regarding this matter.

Higher Education Ministry’s Director General Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad.
(Credit: Malay Mail)

MCMC and PDRM join hands to investigate

The MCMC will also investigate the application together with the Royal Malaysian Police. In their public statement, MCMC warned users of the risks of joining such dating platforms and falling for “love scams” or accidentally installing malware onto your devices.

According to Berita Harian, MCMC Chairman Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek noted that the investigation into Sugarbook will focus on whether the app is registered in Malaysia. If the app is found to promote prostitution, then the matter will be handed over to PDRM as MCM does not have the provisions to handle such matters.

Technically, prostitution is NOT illegal

In Malaysia, the act of prostitution is not actually illegal, though it is restricted.

Prostitution means the act of a person offering that person’s body for sexual gratification for hire whether in money or in kind; and “prostitute” shall be construed accordingly. 

Section 372 (3), Act 574, Malaysia Penal Code

However, what’s illegal is offering prostitution services aka advertising themselves and living on the earnings of prostitution. It’s also illegal to be a pimp and to seek out prostitutes.

Credit: Envato

According to AskLegal, it appears that Malaysian laws on prostitution are aimed at preventing the trafficking and exploitation of individuals into the life of prostitution.

So while signing up to be part of a sugaring relationship is not technically prostitution, it’s a very grey area and Malaysia currently does not have any prior legal standing on sugaring to refer to.

READ MORE: Is A Sugar Baby Really A Prostitute? We Find Out

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