PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry will not hesitate to take into custody children who are traumatised by their parents' ongoing custody tussles.
Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said that the welfare of the children was of utmost importance to the ministry.
"They must come to an understanding to resolve the issue," she said at a press conference after launching the Program Aspirasi Gemilang 'A' Great Eastern Life" awards ceremony here yesterday.
Rohani added that the ministry could take temporary custody of the children if they exhibited emotional disturbances, as provided for under Section 17 (1) (a) of the Child Act.
She said this when commenting on a case where a Muslim convert father had allegedly snatched his son from his Hindu ex-wife's home despite her obtaining custody of the boy and his sister by the High Court.
The father had also been awarded custody of the children by the Syariah court last August.
On another issue, Rohani said that the ministry had submitted eight reports to the Swedish social welfare department through Wisma Putra on the welfare of the children whose parents Azizul Raheem Awalluddin, 38, and Shalwati Norshal, 46, are serving jail sentences in the country for abusing their children's integrity.
She said the children were adapting well and were taking Bahasa Malaysia tuition classes to improve their command of the language.
They are being taken care of by an aunt and are also undergoing counselling, she said.
The Solna District Court recently sentenced Shalwati to 14 months jail and Azizul, 10 months, for the offence.
Azizul is a Tourism Malaysia director in Sweden.