Sugarbook being investigated for prostitution and improper use of network services
On Feb. 17, Darren Chan was apprehended at a condominium in Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur at about 4.30pm.
Police then applied to the Shah Alam Magistrates Court on the morning of Feb. 18 for Chan to be remanded.
According to Chief of Selangor Criminal Investigation Department, Fadzil Ahmat, Chan admitted that he was the founder of the platform during preliminary investigations.
In addition, Sugarbook itself is also being investigated for prostitution and the improper use of network services under Malaysian law.
Arrest comes a week after survey showed Malaysia is third for number of sugar daddies in Asia
Chan's arrest comes about a week after the release of a survey by another similar dating site, SeekingArrangement, which said that Malaysia holds the third spot in Asia for the highest number of sugar daddies, The Malay Mail reported.
According to the survey, Malaysia is home to about 42,500 sugar daddies. Indonesia comes in at second with 60,250 sugar daddies while India tops the list with 338,000.
Separately, a statement released by Sugarbook at about the same time pointed out that the month of Jan. had seen a 40 per cent increase in sign-ups on the platform among Malaysian university students.
It also put out a press release that detailed the 10 universities in the country with the most number of Sugarbook female users.
Both platforms cited student loan debts and the cost of living as some of the reasons for students signing up.
Sugarbook also added that demand for sugar daddies was rising as a result of the economic downturn in the country.
As for its number of users, Sugarbook said that it had over 400,000 active members on its platform, of which 220,000 are sugar babies, 180,000 are sugar daddies and 6,000 are sugar mummies.
Platform comes under fire from religious affairs minister on Valentine's Day
Sugarbook subsequently came under fire on Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, by Malaysia's Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Religious Affairs), Ahmad Marzuk Shaary, The Edge Markets reported.
Calling for the government to take action against people involved in the platform, such as its operators, he said:
"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 syariah law."
Access to the platform's website blocked on Feb. 15
According to Malaysiakini, access to Sugarbook's website was blocked on Feb. 15 by Malaysia's Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
Meanwhile, Malaysia's Higher Education Ministry also slammed the number of young women acting as sugar babies as "improbable."
The ministry said that it had contacted the universities listed out in Sugarbook's press release and added that many of the institutions have since dismissed the figures.
As per the ministry:
"Sunway Education Group said it is impossible that 45 per cent of its Sunway University (one of the universities listed) students are involved as sugar babies.
This is as the number of students at Sunway University is fewer than 7,000. As such, reports that 3,105 of the university's students are sugar babies are not reasonable."
The ministry then highlighted that it would be meeting with the country's Youth and Sports Ministry, Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry, MCMC, and several NGOs to develop a programme for the protection of the character of students, as well as the image of universities.
Top image via Darren Chan Instagram