Last week, Malaysians were amused to discover that our country has over 300,000 sugar babies in their early 20s who study at different universities, according to a statement released by dating platform Sugarbook.
While the revelation amused some, it highlighted several issues that students are facing, most notably, rising student loan debts and tuition fees which the platform claimed to be the driving factor in the increase of sugar babies during the pandemic.
After the news began circulating the internet, eventually becoming a viral topic overnight, the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) released a statement regarding their concerns towards the issue.
Kenyataan Media Ketua Pengarah Pendidikan Tinggi berkaitan penglibatan pelajar IPT dalam perkhidmatan sugar baby pic.twitter.com/UYLobjaDdp
— Dato Dr Noraini Ahmad (@DrNorainiAhmad) February 14, 2021
In short, members of the ministry have contacted the universities named in the articles related to sugar babies in order to find out the true statistics, which they believe were highly exaggerated in media outlets.
One of the universities that reached out was Sunway University, which was named the top university for having the most sugar babies. They stated that it was impossible for such a large figure to be true since there are only 7,000 students currently enrolled and 45% of them (male & female students) being involved in sugar relationships is too large of a percentage.
Similar to that, UiTM has lodged a police report, denying the allegations made by media outlets.
According to the statement above by MoHE, investigations are currently taking place to get to the bottom of this matter and preserve the “dignity” of students in Malaysia from being tarnished by the media.
In the statement, it was mentioned that the MoHE will be having discussions with other ministries to handle this issue. It said,