Relatives almost gave up trying to bring siblings home from Sweden

02 Feb 2014 / 19:49 H.

KOTA BARU (Feb 2, 2014): Relatives of the four siblings whose parents are in custody in Sweden have admitted they almost gave up trying to bring the children back to Malaysia.
Their uncle, Badrul Hisham Makhzan, 55, said he had gone to Sweden on Dec 31 in an attempt to see the children's parents, Azizul Raheem Awalludin and Shalwati Norshal, but failed due to that country's strict regulations and ongoing investigations.
"I then went to the Malaysian Embassy in Sweden where an officer explained the country's legal process and asked me to be patient. I also contacted Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin for help.
"After that visit, I almost gave up and was disappointed when there was no communication between our family and Wisma Putra," he said when met at the family home in Kampung Wakaf Tok Wali, Peringat here today.
However, Badrul Hisham said he felt hopeful again after Hamzah contacted him on Friday, saying his niece and nephews would return to Malaysia on Saturday.
"I received a call from Datuk Hamzah on Friday evening, and he told me to get ready. He said he was bringing home my niece and nephews.
"Datuk Hamzah and Wisma Putra had quietly used diplomatic channels to maintain the good relations between Malaysia and Sweden," he added.
Badrul Hisham believed similar efforts would be used to free Azizul Raheem and Shalwati to bring them back to Malaysia.
"We convey a big thank you to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, Datuk Hamzah and all Malaysians who have helped and prayed for our family.
"This success is a result of efforts by the Malaysian people who have united to bring the four children back home," he said.
On schooling, Badrul Hisham said he would seek help from the Kelantan Education Department for the children to attend Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Padang Kala and Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Padang Kala, Peringat.
"I respect the wishes of the children's mother who wants them to go to a local school, rather than an international school.
"They only have a language problem because they are not so fluent in Bahasa Melayu and do not understand the Kelantan dialect.
"Aishah (the eldest child) began following her parents abroad when she was four years old. They had then moved to South Africa," he added.
The siblings, Aishah Azizul Raheem, 14, Ammar, 12, Adam, 11, and Arif, seven, arrived at the KL International Airport at 7.04am yesterday on a Malaysia Airlines flight from Stockholm.
They were accompanied by Hamzah, his special officer and a relative.
The children then departed for Kota Baru and arrived at 8.15 last night, welcomed by relatives at the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Pengkalan Chepa.
Azizul Raheem, an officer with Tourism Malaysia in Sweden and Shalwati Norshal, a teacher on unpaid leave, have been remanded since Dec 18 for allegedly beating the hand of one of their sons for not performing his prayers. – Bernama

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