KUALA LUMPUR: Hours after his release, Nayati Shamelin Moodliar stunned his schoolmates when he turned up at the Mont Kiara International School to tell them, "I'm okay!"
He was given a standing ovation as students and teachers held a special assembly to welcome him back.
The place was buzzing with excitement as news of his safe return sank in.
Accompanied by his family, the 12-year-old thanked his classmates, teachers and staff for their prayers and support.
School head Walter C. Morris said Nayati's brief speech lifted the morale of everyone.
"We are all so glad and thankful that he's back with us."
He said Nayati appeared to be in good spirits and had no problem talking to the school after his ordeal.
"We are very proud of him."
Morris said the school went through a difficult time when Nayati was reported missing a week ago.
"The students, their parents and the staff put up posters and we prayed for him.
"We never stopped having faith that he would indeed be home safe," Morris said, adding that the incident had brought the whole school closer together.
Morris described Nayati as an "excellent young man" and said the seventh-grader was a good athlete.