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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — The Malaysian creator behind the “Sugar Daddy” dating services application called Sugarbook who found itself in trouble over its eye-catching business advertisement in Bangsar and Bukit Kiara, today lamented that his company was ill-advised.
Its chief executive Darren Chan said he was advised by the company’s advertisement publishing company that it had acquired the necessary approval.
Chan provided Malay Mail with a copy of the now controversial advertisement, which was sent for approval, before being publicised.
Upon scrutiny, Malay Mail found that the approval stamp was only by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) and not DBKL.
“I’d like to clarify that the advice given to us by our ad publishing company was — our ads were approved. We were led to believe that the approval that I have attached, is the only approval needed to proceed. But it has come to our attention that we lacked DBKL’s approval. As such, it is clear that we were wrongly advised.
“While we believe the public’s intentions are good, it would be unjust to have us banned. Ultimately, we fear that this demand would undermine the freedom and liberty of the Malaysian people,” Chan said.
He added that Sugarbook is a smartphone application designed to empower women by providing them a dating platform to choose freely what they want in an ideal relationship, without being scrutinised.
“The keyword here is ‘choice’ and Sugarbook is about providing our people that precise choice,” he said, adding that sugar babies are also not sex workers who trade their bodies for money.
“They are real people from all walks of life, e.g. struggling single mothers, housewives, widows, and divorcees,” Chan added.
In a statement earlier, City Hall said that it has ordered the billboard advertisements for the Sugar Daddy dating services in Bangsar and Bukit Kiara, to be removed.
City Hall said it did not approve the advertisement for the app on the billboard, which is owned by Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan (YWP).
It added that YWP also did not give its permission for the display of the advertisement.
Since its launch in January 2017, the unorthodox dating site is no stranger to controversy.
In February last year, Sugarbook attracted the attention of Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee, who said the police will keep a close watch of the dating platform and its users.
Unlike Tinder, that matches individuals based on common interests and geographical location, Sugarbook allows users to be a part of a social networking platform focusing on financials.
The start-up is looking to expand into China and Japan next and is seeking funding.