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Sugarbook dating site goes blank in Malaysia

FMT Reporters FRFEE MALAYSIA TODAY Mon, February 15, 2021

PETALING JAYA: Controversial dating website Sugarbook has been blocked by Malaysia’s internet regulator, days after creating a controversy over its claims of Malaysian women offering themselves as “sugar babies”.

Internet users who visit the website from a Malaysian address will see a notification stating that “this website is not available in Malaysia as it violate(s) the national law(s).”

However, the Sugarbook app remains available for Android smartphones. However no app has been available for Apple iPhones since February 2019, according to a notice on the Sugarbook site.

The internet regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission had said earlier today that it would continue to monitor and investigate the Sugarbook application and take action against the users and platform owners should there be any violation of the law.

MCMC said it was concerned about Sugarbook’s “recent marketing gimmick” which claimed that many Malaysian women, especially university students, had offered themselves for sponsorship from “sugar daddies”.

Sugarbook had claimed last week that some 12,705 students from 10 institutions of higher learning in the Klang Valley, including two public universities, were currently registered with the platform.

A police report was lodged in Penang by two PAS branches which urged the government to take action against the dating website’s “immoral activities”. A spokesman said they did not want Malaysia to be known as a country where young girls are selling their dignity to make a living. Three branches’ women’s wings have also lodged police reports.

MCMC said dating platforms increased the risk of love scams and sexual harassment and said users would be exposed to cyberattack risks such as malware, spyware and personal data leakage through use of such services.

Police would take further action if there were elements of prostitution involved.

The ministry of higher education has questioned the validity of the data and said it is working with local universities to look into the matter.

Higher education minister Noraini Ahmad said this evening that her ministry will collaborate with MCMC to provide awareness and understanding on social issues and cybersecurity.

She said action was needed to deal with students who allegedly used dating sites to engage in immoral activities such as finding “sugar daddies”.

The minister and MCMC have agreed to take some action to address this issue,” Noraini said.

SOURCE: FRFEE MALAYSIA TODAY, Malaysia Mon, February 15, 2021

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