Najib thanks Sweden for facilitating return of children
Bernama | Updated: February 01, 2014
(First published on: February 01, 2014 16:59 MYT)
"I understand, prior to this, it was very difficult (to obtain permission to bring home), but due to the good relations between Malaysia and Sweden and in the spirit of the Convention on the Rights of the Child signed by both nations, they had given their agreement," he told reporters at his residence in Jalan Langgak Duta, here, Saturday.
The children of the couple, Azizul Raheem Awalludin and Shalwati Norshal, who were detained on December 18, 2013 on a charge of beating the hand of their youngest son for not praying, arrived at the residence of the Prime Minister at 1pm.
Aishah, 14; Ammar, 12; Adam, 11 dan Arif, 7, were accompanied by deputy Foreign Minister, Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin.
Fatigued after a journey of 17 hours from Stockholm, they appeared cheerful when received by Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
They also spent time in conversation and asking about the children, who were accompanied by relatives.
They arrived at 7.04am at the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang from Stockholm by a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight.
Najib also congratulated Hamzah for carrying out his job well to the extent that the children were successfully brought home so that their welfare was looked after and that they were not psychologically affected by the pressure faced in Sweden.
"I'm also told that their parents had agreed that the children be placed with their aunty in Kelantan. We will arrange for their trip to Kelantan and if they need anything, we will assist," he said.
He said the Social Welfare Department (JKM) would monitor so that the four siblings would be well looked after and free of any pressure following the detention of their parents.
Najib said the government would also do its best to assist the children's parents, who were still under remand by the Swedish government, in defending their case according to the law practiced in that country.
"We must accept the fact that there is a special legislation in Sweden, so we have to take whatever measures to defend their parents based on the requirement of the law and certain approaches adopted there.
"However, we will do our best to assist their parents," he said, adding that the unfortunate experience faced by the four siblings had affected his sentiments as a father.
Meanwhile, Rosmah in expressing her fear on the wellbeing of the children, had also expressed her willingness to seek an audience with the King and Queen of Sweden to seek their assistance, if the children could not be brought home to Malaysia.
"I had thought of going there (to Sweden) to seek an audience with the Swedish King and Queen to seek their assistance. But alhamdulillah, before I could go there, Hamzah had succeeded to bring them back.
"I hope their relatives will look after them well just like their own children, and I will help if there is any problem," she said.
The couple's eldest child, Aishah said she was glad and expressed her gratitude to Hamzah and Najib and his wife for succeeding to bring them back to Malaysia.
"We are really happy when we touched down, we thank you Datuk Seri (Najib) and Datin Seri for bringing us back to Malaysia," she said briefly on behalf of her siblings.
Their aunty, Shaleena Norshal, 42, Shalwati's younger sister, who is responsible for looking after the children, said they would be returning to Kelantan either on Saturday (February 1) or Sunday (February 2) .
"We are most thankful to the Malaysian government and people who had prayed for them and their family," she said.
The remand order for Azizul, who is a Tourism Malaysia official in Sweden and his wife, Shalwati, a teacher who is on no-pay leave, had been extended to February 10 to assist in the investigation into the case.