After Serving Swedish Jail Sentence, Azizul Raheem Returns Home

SEPANG, July 15 (Bernama) -- Sweden-based Tourism Malaysia officer Azizul Raheem Awalludin, who served a three-month jail sentence, beginning March 28 in that country for beating his four children, today returned to Malaysia.

Azizul Raheem, 38, who arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH001 at 5.41pm, was welcomed by his four children and other relatives who waited at the Tourism Malaysia office in KLIA from 4.30pm.

There was a tinge of sadness at the office when he embraced the children, Aisha, 15, Ammar, 12, Adam, 11, and Ariff, eight, for the first time after seven months of not having communicated with them.

Azizul Raheem reporters that his return to Malaysia was also a birthday gift for his mother, Rubiah Mohd Ghandi, who turned 65 today.

"Thank you, to all who prayed for me and my wife. Now, everything (the ordeal) is over, my wife, Shalwati Norshal, 49, will also be released on Sept 29 and we are eagerly waiting for that time," he said when met after the meeting.

Azizul Raheem who was released on July 9, was charged with hitting his children since Sept 2010 and was sentenced to 10 months' jail and his wife, Shalwati Norshal, to 14 months imprisonment for the offence.

However, the jail sentence was reduced when both of them were required to serve only one-third of their sentences.

He said what was important now was to observe Ramadan and celebrate Aidilfitri with his children and family members, although it was disappointing that his wife was far away.

On his imprisonment in Sweden, Azizul Raheem said he was treated well and in a professional manner. Nevertheless, he had become vegetarian because it was difficult to get halal food there.

He said he would not be deterred if assigned to other countries as he had learned his lesson and would be more careful, sensitive and aware of the laws of that country. He also advised his friends to do the same if assigned overseas.

His eldest daughter, Aishah, who had no words to describe her happiness said: "We are very grateful for my father's return...we plan to make the colour purple as the theme for this year's Aidilfitri celebration."

Meanwhile, Tourism Malaysia welcomed Azizul Raheem back to the agency and described him as a special guest at the breaking of fast tonight.

"All your friends want to see you again and your presence is the 'highlight' of this occasion," said its director-general, Datuk Mirza Mohd Taiyab at Tourism Malaysia's breaking of fast at the Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque here tonight.

He said Azizul Raheem would be temporarily placed in Tourism Malaysia's human resources division before his next placement was determined.

"However, he might have to take leave to put things in order and other requirements," he told reporters.

Meanwhile, Azizul Raheem was excited to break fast with his children, family members and friends after more than two weeks of breaking fast in jail.

"I see it as a gift, in conjunction with Nuzul Al-Quran today," he said with a smile.


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