Azizul Raheem Awalludin's lawyer Jona Tamm (left) speaking to a Malaysian Embassy staff in between proceedings at the Solna District court.
STOCKHOLM: The Malaysian father on trial in Sweden for hitting his children told the court here that he only hit his children when the family was living in South Africa and Malaysia.
Azizul Raheem Awalluddin claimed he used to beat his children before moving to Sweden, contradicting what he told local police in a previous interview.
Prosecutor Anna Arnell pointed out that Azizul admitted that he hit his children to discipline them, even after the police clarified they were only asking within the context of when the family was living in Sweden.
Azizul replied that he had misunderstood the police's question as he was nervous.
"It was my first time being interrogated by the police. I was so nervous my brain didn't work, and I thought the question meant if I had ever hit them throughout their whole life," he told the Solna district court on Monday.
Sweden has outlawed corporal punishment since 1979, meaning Azizul and his wife Shalwati Nurshal face up to six years prison if found guilty of hitting their children.
Arnell listed dozens of alleged incidents of hitting brought up by the Malaysians' four children earlier in the trial, then asked Azizul if all the offences occurred outside Sweden.
"Yes," replied Azizul tersely. He clarified that in Sweden he was less strict, only hitting tables or shouting to get his children's attention.
Lawyer Clara Hjort - who represented two of the children, Adam and Aishah - asked Azizul about how respect between parent and child worked for Malaysians.
"As Malays, we are rich with culture. For us, youths should respect their elders.
"According to Muslim beliefs, a child can not throw a tantrum directed at its parent, even going 'eh' is a sin," said Azizul.
Earlier in the trial, many incidents brought up by the chilren were alleged to have occurred following an act of disobedience, leading the parents to discipline them with a beating.
When Hjort asked Azizul why he became less strict in Sweden, he said it was in part because of an email from Adam's school, which said he was diagnosed with dyslexia and needed more support from his parents.
Azizul's lawyer Jonas Tamm asked his client why he had passed more parenting duties to his wife, prompting Azizul to reveal that it was to reduce his stress levels as he suffered from hypertension.
When asked why Azizul no longer beat his kids once in Sweden, he said that was because his four children were more grown-up and manageable compared to when they were in South Africa.
The trial continues March 5, with Shalwati expected to give her defence.