MoHE views allegations of sugar babies among IPT students

By BERNAMA / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) has contacted several universities whose students are allegedly involved in the “sugar baby” activity to obtain information on the validity of data that has been published by several media outlets.

Its DG Prof Datuk Dr Husaini Omar said the ministry took seriously the revelations made on the “student programme” website and Facebook reports about the sharp increase in the number of university students involved in this activity.

“In this case, the university explained that there are many doubts about the data submitted,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the Sunway Education Group stated that it was quite impossible for 45% of Sunway University students to be involved as sugar babies as the number of students at present is only about 7,000.

“Therefore, the report published by the media that a total of 3,105 Sunway University students were involved in sugar baby activity is not reasonable,” he said

“On Feb 10, Universiti Teknologi Mara also lodged a police report to deny the report by the media.”

Husaini said MoHE, together with the universities’ authorities, will address this issue more effectively and will conduct detailed internal reviews to ensure what was reported is handled as best as possible.

“The MoHE will also carry out engagement sessions involving the Ministry of Youth and Sports; Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development; Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission; as well as related NGOs so that a continuous and comprehensive programme can be designed to ensure the personality of students and the image of the institutions of higher learning in Malaysia are maintained.”

Meanwhile, a review of the cost of living and income-generating opportunities through entrepreneurship are among the five measures proposed by the Sinergi Gerakan Mahasiswi (SIGMA) Sabah to curb “sugar baby” activities among students.

SIGMA chairman Siti Zainab Omar said through the study of the cost of living and opening up entrepreneurial space inside and outside the campus, students of institutions of higher learning (IPT) could generate income and subsequently cover the living costs during their studies.

She said the second proposal involves the relevant ministries and IPTs to sponsor the cost of registering a business licence from the Companies Commission of Malaysia and encourage students to engage in online businesses as one of their sources of income.

“Undoubtedly financial problems are one of the main factors of student involvement in this activity (sugar baby). No party should be blamed for this issue, but all parties should take a serious view of the ‘sugar baby’ issue,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Siti Zainab also suggested the authorities take effective steps to freeze or restrict access to websites and applications that involve individuals, especially students, in such immoral activities.

Towards this end, a platform should be created involving the cooperation between the students and community to facilitate the reporting on such activity, Siti Zainab added.