PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth wants to work with the Swedish authorities to consider a request to place the children of a Malaysian couple detained in Stockholm with a Muslim foster home.
The four children of Malaysian Tourism director in Sweden, Azizul Raheem Awalludin, and his wife Shalwati Nurshal, are now living with a non-Muslim family since their parents were detained on Dec 18.
The couple were held for allegedly hitting the hand of one of their children for not praying. To date, no charge has been made against them.
Earlier reports said the Malaysian embassy had recommended four families of embassy staff in Stockholm to care for the children.
Umno Youth exco member Ibdilillah Ishak said the Swedish authorities denied this request on reasons that the children were already cared for by a foster family.
He said another suggestion to place the children in the care of two families with Permanent Resident status in Sweden was also rejected.
“Umno Youth is concerned about the welfare of the children.
"Based on postings from the children’s Facebook account, they seem unhappy with their present situation.
"We understand that due to religious and cultural concerns, the children might be better suited living with a Malaysian family,” said Ibdilillah after meeting officials of Wisma Putra and the Swedish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Wisma Putra undersecretary Mat Dris Yaacob briefed Ibdilillah on recent updates pertaining to the case.
“We informed Mat Dris that Umno Youth would like to be a mediator between the children and Swedish authorities. We want to go to Sweden once we get a clearer picture of the situation,” said Ibdilillah.
On his meeting with Sven Malmberg, deputy head of mission at the Swedish embassy, Ibdilillah said:
“We asked Mr Malmberg to reconsider the decision to place the children under the care of Malaysians, and whether the Swedish embassy can take any action on diplomatic grounds.
"Malmberg has forwarded our queries to Stockholm and will get in touch with us tomorrow.”
Ibdilillah said Umno Youth has also requested the Swedish authorities to allow its members to meet the children.
“We want to talk to the children and find out why they are unhappy.
"We would like to ask them about their living arrangement. Would they like us to bring over their closest next-of-kin to Sweden? Would they be more comfortable under the case of the Malaysian embassy or foster home or would they like to return to Malaysia?
“If the children want to return home, we will have to discuss repatriation options with the Swedish authorities,” he said.