Azizul Raheem Awalludin (right), a Tourism Malaysia director in Stockholm and his wife Shalwati Nurshal.
PETALING JAYA: Like many parents divided over whether to use corporal punishment on their children, the subject prompted an outpouring of support and opposition from netizens.
On Saturday, The Star highlighted the case of Azizul Raheem Awalludin, a Tourism Malaysia director in Stockholm and his wife Shalwati Nurshal, a secondary school teacher on unpaid leave, who reportedly hit their 12-year-old son for not performing his prayers.
The Malaysian couple are placed in Swedish custody as corporal punishment is not allowed in the Nordic country, and bail is not available to them.
On Facebook, Victor Huang thought the Europeans were “going overboard”, while Aman Avtar S Sandhu called upon Malaysians overseas to respect the laws of a foreign country: “They have their own values and beliefs.”
Balasharmila Rao Munusamy agreed, but cited the case of an Indian couple who was arrested in one of the Nordic countries for hand-feeding their children in public: “It is normal in our Asian culture to feed our children with hand but there, the act is perceived as something against the children's will.”
“The children were sent to welfare department and I believe it took some international diplomacy to resolve the problem. The point is - ignorance of the law is no excuse. When you are in Rome, you don't have to do what Romans do but you need to know what they are allowed to do,” he added.
Tweeter @Jeghui was sure the couple had been briefed on Swedish laws, but felt it was a simple mistake and an unfortunate event.
Like Susheel Akash Sharma, many were of the opinion that the punishment followed after the couple failed to comply with local Swedish laws: “Nothing phenomenal about it. Shape up or ship out. I'm in full agreement with the Swedish authorities.”
But Aarif Iman Abdullah questioned the need for anyone to interfere in the boy’s upbringing of the child wasn’t injured: “I have had students from that part of the world (Sweden) who behaved like thugs, and I can attribute it to their upbringing.”
However, Christina Krohn Borring, who hails from Denmark, begged to differ: “We believe that you injure their soul. This is one of the reasons we have this law and I truly
believe that you create hate and fear in a child if you as the parents punish them. I fully agree with Aman Avtar you have to respect the law in the country you live/visit.”
Toronto native Jim Austin shared how he was taught how to not offend Malaysian standards during his stay here: “And I really tried not to offend. Now, when I take my family to Malaysia, the same applies. Hitting children is not a solution to a problem. It just passes a problem to another generation. Hitting children has to stop. Everywhere.”
Mel Lim saluted Sweden for their child protection laws: “About time Malaysia start charging parents for hitting their kids as a form of discipline which is common. Many of us grew up getting caned etc, which leaves emotional scars for a long time.”
As a parent who does not inflict corporal punishment on his children and had them “turn out fine”, Jim Gaz Cheung chipped in on the issue: “Even though I do remember my own father physically "disciplining" me long ago, but I know two wrongs don't make a right. Traumatized you may not be but deep inside, you are permanently scarred.”
Chandran Raman Kutty also questioned the impact of the case on the children: “Which leaves more emotional scar in the kids? Having their hand slapped or them being the reason for their parents to be detained? I understand the need to respect Swedish law but the law is not always perfect.”
Tweeter @imesha88 said the arrest should not have have happened, as “Malaysians working overseas for the country should have immunity like given to the diplomats.”
But Napsiah Wan Salleh cautioned against lecturing the Swedish on their own laws, especially when commenters are neither citizens of Sweden nor tax-paying voters: “Whether we like it or not, or whether we think the law is right or wrong, this particular law exists in Sweden. It has been there for decades.”
“Malaysians who are in Sweden must know Swedish laws. If you are not a diplomat, you don’t have immunity and if you break their laws knowingly or unknowingly, you have to go through the due process,” she added.