Sugarbook’s Malaysian Advertising Causes Controversy

Sugarbook CEO Darren Chan has responded to controversy surrounding ads produced by his company in Bangsar and Bukit Kiara, Malaysia.

The promotion, which the publication Malay Mail saw but declined to publish, was blocked by a regulator, despite executives at the sugar dating platform believing they had secured the necessary permissions.

Chan said: “I’d like to clarify that the advice given to us by our ad publishing company was — our ads were approved. 

“(…) 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.”

The CEO argued that his platform simply aims to provide women with the autonomy to choose the right kind of relationship for their needs. Authorities in Malaysia have, however, criticised Sugarbook in the past.

In April, the founder of was accused of “incitement to debauchery and prostitution” in Belgium. The charges came following a van-mounted billboard campaign at a university campus.

GDI interviewed Darren Chan in October 2018. Then, he emphasised the safety measures that the platform takes to ensure its community is full of authentic members.

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Scott Harvey

Scott is the Editor of Global Dating Insights. Raised in Dorset, he holds a BA from The University of Nottingham and an MSc from Lund University School of Economics and Management. Previously he has written about politics, economics and technology for various online publications.

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