SAFE: Trader grateful he was not ill-treated
KUALA LUMPUR: DESPITE being held in captivity for a year and 13 days, trader Nasaruddin Saidin harbours no hard feelings towards his captors as they did not ill-treat or torture him.
The 39-year-old had gone to a small town in Jolo island in May last year to conduct lizard trading, but was kidnapped by a group of gunmen, believed to be Abu Sayyaf rebels.
Last Saturday, he was rescued from his kidnappers by Jolo villagers at 9pm and he boarded a boat for Sandakan. He arrived there at 6.30pm on Sunday due to rough weather.
After processing his travel documents on Monday, Nasaruddin arrived back in Kuala Lumpur yesterday and was reunited with his wife and six children, aged between 5 and 16.
"It is the best ever Mothers Day present I have received, my son safely reunited with us," said Siti Hamdan Ahmad, 59, her voice cracking with emotion as tears rolled down her cheeks.
Nasaruddin thanked his lucky stars that he had been reunited with his family, saying that his case was one in a million where an Abu Sayyaf hostage had been released instead of being killed.
"During my time in captivity, I managed to escape once and spent a month hiding in the swamps. However, I had to return to my kidnappers as I was very weak and there was no way out.
"Though I had escaped from captivity, my captors did not treat me badly, but merely warned me not to try to escape again. I was handcuffed every night before going to sleep after I returned to them."
Nasaruddin disclosed that besides him, the rebels had also kidnapped an Indian national and another Malaysian, a businessman. It is understood that the Putera 1Malaysia club is attempting to arrange for the latter's release as well.
Nasaruddin thanked the Putera 1Malaysia club, Berita Harian and the government for their efforts in securing his release, a sentiment shared by his ex-wife, 39-year-old Mazlina Mohamad.
Club president Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim said it had been a long and arduous journey to get Nasaruddin back, revealing that they had flown to southern Philippines several times to get wind of his location.
"In December last year and January this year, we heard rumours that Nasaruddin had died. But we did not inform his family as the rumours were unsubstantiated and could not be confirmed."
Azeez however rebuked Nasa-ruddin for going to the southern Philippines for lizard trading, dismissing it as another get rich quick scheme. He said the club would assist in finding him a job.
"Malaysia is a land of many opportunities so long as you are willing to work hard.
"There is no need to go abroad and look for mythical pots of gold when it is right here," he said at the club headquarters in KampungAttap.
During his time in captivity, Mazlina supported the family by selling curry puffs while Nasaruddin's parents sold nasi lemak.
Nasaruddin's father, Saidin Aziz, 64, said last year had been tough for the whole family, but it did not matter now that his son had been reunited with his family.