Kuala Lumpur: Young men in Malaysia are being lured into a life of vice by massage parlours that are offering them "special services" on the side.
Those frequenting these parlours include college and university students, and some of the so-called body and foot massage centres are even accepting men in their late teens and early 20s as customers.
The parlours have mushroomed throughout the state, and the masseuses serving these clients are very young, mainly from China.
Parents of these young men have expressed their concern after they heard that college and university students are frequenting these centres daily after getting "hooked" on the "extra services" offered.
Dr Umah Devi, the chairman of the Miri Tunas Bakti Institution (a rehabilitation institution for troubled children and youths), said it was anyone``s guess what actually was happening in some of these massage centres.
"It doesn``t take a genius to realise that young healthy men in their late teens and early 20s don``t need regular body or foot massages," a website quoted her as saying.
"It is also obvious that young women in their early 20s are usually not experienced in giving body massages because most expert body and foot masseuses are older people, many of whom are in the ``pakcik and makcik`` age-bracket," she stated.
Umah wondered why these centres hired only young, sexy and beautiful foreign girls as masseuses.
"It is a fact that blind people are among the best masseurs or masseuses. So, why are these centres not hiring professionally trained masseurs like the blind or experienced tukang urut from the villages?" she asked.
"Why only sexy masseuses dressed in skimpy mini-skirts and revealing dresses? And why do these massage centres have small cubicles where clients are given one-on-one service?" she questioned.
Umah, a former Miri Hospital director, said the move by the Miri City Council to freeze new licences for massage parlours and foot reflexology centres, "though good, was not enough".
"There must be very strict by-laws on the age of customers seeking services in these centres. At the moment, there is no age limit. There is also no dress code for masseuses and a masseuse needs no qualification," she said.
"Any so-called massage centre can simply hire any woman and say she is a masseuse," she added.
Miri Mayor Lawrence Lai admitted that even though the council had issued only 37 licences for massage centres, there are more than 100 all over the city and in the outskirts.