PETALING JAYA: The Higher Education Ministry says it will investigate claims of undergraduates in public and private universities who are "sugar babies".
Higher Education director-general Datuk Dr Husaini Omar said the ministry views the matter seriously over the rise of students allegedly providing services as sugar babies.
(A sugar baby is usually a younger person who has a relationship with an older wealthier person for financial assistance in a mutual agreement.)
Husaini said the ministry had contacted various universities mentioned in the reports to verify the facts.
"The Higher Education Ministry views seriously on claims about 'student programme' websites and a report in Facebook on the drastic increase of university undergraduates who are sugar babies.
"The ministry has contacted a few of the listed universities in the reports to ascertain information.
"In this issue, the universities concerned explained that there is much doubt on the data which was published.
"Among them is Sunway Education Group which stated that it is impossible for 45% of their students to be sugar babies.
"This is because the current total number of students is only 7,000 and the reports claimed 3,105 students from Sunway were involved.
"On Feb 10, UiTM has also filed a police report refuting the allegations," he said.
He said the Higher Education Ministry together with the universities will handle this issue more effectively.
"The ministry will also engage with the ministries of Youth and Sports, Women and Family Development, as well as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and various NGOs to create a continuous and wholesome programme to ensure that the character development of undergraduates and image of tertiary education institutions are taken care of," said Husaini in the statement on Sunday (Feb 14).
There were claims that Malaysia has the third-highest number of sugar daddies in Asia at 42,500, behind India’s 338,000 and Indonesia’s 60,250.
It was alleged that a local sugar daddy site had also done "a public relations blast" and infographics on how much a sugar baby can expect to earn, and which universities have the highest numbers of such young ladies.