KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has blocked access to the Sugarbook website for allegedly breaching the law on the use of network facilities or network services.
The industry regulator posted a notification on the website saying it had essentially violated Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA).
The MCMC has yet to officially confirm why the controversial website was taken down.
However, it was learned that the Sugarbook developer has set up an alternative site to enable its users to access the blocked webpage.
Sugarbook matches “sugar daddies” to “sugar babies”, or older and generally more well-off men to young women in a largely financial arrangement.
Earlier, the MCMC said it was monitoring and investigating Sugarbook and would take action against its users and platform owners should they violate the law.
“The police will take further action if there are elements of prostitution involved.
“The MCMC is concerned about the recent marketing gimmick by ‘sugar daddy-sugar baby’ dating site Sugarbook that claimed many Malaysian women, especially university students, have offered themselves as ‘sugar babies’ on its app.
“Such claims should be investigated because the user profiles could be manipulated to deceive victims, ” it said in a statement yesterday. In George Town, PAS lodged eight police reports against the Sugarbook app that they alleged promoted “prostitution activities”.
Tanjung PAS chief Yacoob Omar said the reports were lodged by himself and other state PAS leaders from Jelutong, Bukit Bendera and state Dewan Himpunan Penyokong PAS chairman K. Jayaraman at the George Town police headquarters.
“As Muslims, we are concerned and worried over this matter and these activities can be considered haram in Islam.
“(Non-Muslims) too would not condone such an act that involves our younger generation, ” he said.
Yacoob urged the police and MCMC to conduct thorough investigations and to take action against the owner of such apps.
Recently, a US-based site similar to Sugarbook claimed Malaysia has the third-highest number of sugar daddies in Asia behind India and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, the MCMC also advised parents and guardians to always monitor their children’s Internet activities as well as to observe “lifestyle changes that may arouse suspicion”.
It said the Internet has opened up opportunities for wider communications including immoral activities such as wild parties, illicit relationships, and online prostitution.
It advised Internet users to always exercise caution in providing personal information when using social media and online applications, especially dating platforms.
The MCMC noted that there are other applications providing online dating services.
“Users should be aware of exposure to cyberattacks if they do not take necessary measures.
“The risk of love scams will increase if they are exposed to malware and spyware, ” it said.