KUALA LUMPUR - This Father's Day, fisherman Hanafi Salleh wants only one thing to be reunited with his two young sons whom he has not seen for more than seven years.
The 36-year-old's sons Muhammad Syayden Ingham, 12, and Muhammad Jamey Alano Ingham, nine, were taken by their mother Nurul Junaidah Joanne Abdullah to New Zealand without his consent in 2004.
"Every minute of every day, for seven years, I have prayed for their return," Hanafi said at a press conference at Kelab Putra 1 Malaysia (KP1M) headquarters in Jalan Kampung Attap here yesterday.
Hanafi, who hails from Muar said his wife, a New Zealand national whom he married in 1999, had gone back to her country with their sons while he was working in Europe.
Initially, he said he was allowed contact with his sons, but eventually, his wife cut off all communication with them.
Hanafi said he had recently learnt that his sons were under the care of the Nelson Site Child Youth and Family agency since May 2010 after his ex-wife lost custody of the children due to her involvement in drugs.
He had also heard that there had been applications by two New Zealand families to adopt his sons.
"I pray that we can be successful in bringing my sons back safely," Hanafi said. "I cannot wait to hold them again."
Hanafi's mother, Mariam Khairi, 65, said she also missed her grandchildren.
"I beg the government and Kelab Putra to help me bring my grandchildren home," a tearful Mariam said.
Hanafi revealed that he had also received hand-written letters from his sons saying they missed him and wanted to see him again.
"Dear Daddy," one of the letters said. "I miss you so much. I can't wait when (until) we see each other. I wish to go back to Malaysia."
Kelab Putra 1 Malaysia president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim said KP1M would seek the assistance of the Foreign Ministry, the New Zealand High Commissioner in Malaysia, as well as the Malaysian High Commissioner in New Zealand.
He said they had applied for a passport for Mariam so she could accompany KP1M volunteers in bringing back the boys home next week.
The club does not expect much problem in its efforts as the two boys have Malaysian birth certificates.
"We have succeeded in previous cases due to prayers from the people, regardless of race, religion and background," he said. "I hope it would be the same this time."