In the news: (From left) Aishah, Arif, Adam and Ammar reading newspaper articles about their story at their relative’s house in Melur, Kota Baru.
KOTA BARU: The four siblings whose parents are in custody in Sweden may have problems adapting to the local language once they start schooling.
Their uncle Badrul Hisham Makhzan, 55, said the four are not fluent in Bahasa Malaysia and do not understand the Kelantanese dialect as they have been living overseas since they were toddlers.
He said his 14-year-old niece Aishah, for example, was more comfortable speaking in English because she had been studying at an international school all these years.
“However, I believe with our help they will be able to catch up and master their mother tongue,” he said at his sister Shalena’s house in Wakaf Tok Bali, Melur here yesterday.
Shalena and her husband Nik Farid Nik Abdullah, both 44, were given custody of Aishah, Ammar, 12, Adam, 11 and Arif, seven, who arrived here from Sweden on Saturday.
Badrul Hisham said he would seek help from the Kelantan Education Department for the children to attend SMK Padang Kala and 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,” he added.
The children’s parents Azizul Raheem Awalludin, an officer with Tourism Malaysia in Sweden and Shalwati Nurshal, a teacher on unpaid leave, were remanded for allegedly hitting one of their children for not performing his prayers.
Badrul Hisham also expressed hope that the same diplomatic approach used by Wisma Putra to bring the children home could be used to convince the Swedish authorities to release their parents so that they can come home.
State Education Director Husin Awang said the department was ready to help the children to start their schooling as soon as possible.
“This is a special case. I do not have any problem placing them at the same school as their cousins in Melur so they can catch up on their studies as soon as possible,” he said.