A man has taken around 30 pre-school children and four teachers hostage in southern Malaysia, police and parents said Thursday, with authorities saying they were in talks to end the stand-off.
"We are still negotiating with the man to release the kindergarten children. He is holding about 30 children," local police chief Mohammad Nasir Ramli told AFP.
The father of one of the children being held, 34-year-old Tan Teck Hock, said the hostage-taker was armed with a hammer and a knife and was also holding four teachers at the school in a suburb of Muar town in southern Johor state.
"My five-year-old son is being held hostage. I am worried for his safety," he told AFP.
Tan said that heavily armed police had surrounded the two-storey bungalow which houses the kindergarten and were trying to coax the hostage-taker to surrender and free the children.
"We were informed of the incident at about 10 a.m. (0200 GMT)," he said.
Police have also brought in a dozen members of the police special action unit from the capital Kuala Lumpur.