A case of a 22-year-old man who was arrested last week for allegedly outraging the modesty of a woman in Subang Jaya would have been like any other case except that it's not. Because the man has the mental capacity of a 13-year-old and does not understand the consequences of his actions nor why he was arrested.
Subang Jaya district police chief Mohammad Azlin Sadari claims the arrest was conducted in accordance with the standard operating procedure (SOP).
That they detained the 22-year-old man following a report made by the 24-year-old victim on Tuesday, 11 September, after she positively identified the man.
That the ACP believes the actions taken in carrying out this investigation are based on the SOP and acting in accordance with the law is what, however, is the problem here.
Because this case is not the standard 'Section 354 of the Penal Code' case, which deals with assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty.
The emphasis is on the word intent here because the 22-year-old is autistic.
He does not understand the consequences of his actions nor why he is arrested.
In the above video, the autistic man, whose name is Ahmad Ziqri, is seen in shackles being led by cops to Petaling Jaya magistrate's court as his mother tries to calm his feelings by lying to him that he was in a Gerak Khas movie hoping the events would not scar him
Despite his mother's tries, Ziqri appears confused, not aware what's happening, what's with the frenzy of events that surround him or where is it that he is being taken away.
Speaking about the situation later with The Star Online, the mother, Hasnah Abd Rahman, says she doesn't blame the police or the woman who filed the report.
Being a woman, Hasnah says he understands how harrowing the experience could be (of being touched inappropriately) and considering the fact that her son looks like a normal guy it can be especially hard when one is not familiar with autism
"I'm not blaming the police, and I don't blame the complainant either," she told The Star Online, adding that the police could have handled her son's situation better.
"If everybody was to sit down and listen to explanations, look at the medical report and then later judge for themselves, and [only then] make the necessary arrangements" then the outcome of the events wouldn't have been this unfortunate, she told the English daily, adding that people like her autistic son are children in adult bodies.
The mother said she is unaware if Malaysian police have a SOP for handling people with disabilities, but it's something the police must adopt so that these incidents can be handled more sensitively
"We need to address this delicately and the police need to have more interaction with such peculiarities so that they know how to handle (such situations)," she said.
"I don't mind if the police want a blood test or even a medical test done, our family can always bring him over," The Star Online quoted Hasnah as saying.
The police had applied for a four-day remand for Ziqri. However, the remand order was denied by the Petaling Jaya magistrate's court on 12 September.
For which the mother is thankful as detaining Ziqri for four days would have been detrimental to his mental health, she told the English daily today, 17 September.
While Ziqri was released on police bail on Wednesday and allowed to return home with his mother, he has not been his usual self
"I noticed that after he got home from Court, he did not want to change his clothes and eat," Hasnah said, adding her son is a slow learner and it usually takes him two years to develop the ability to realise that he is not allowed to do certain things.
People from the Welfare Department will be making a visit to their home today, and Hasnah hopes that they can help in getting through to her son.
"It is good that they are coming because even I can't get through to him. I am not even sure if he knows what happened to him. I don't want him to be traumatised. There is no reaction from him, so I just don't know," she told the Star Online.
Meanwhile, National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) chairman Feilina Muhammad Feisol has urged the government to review and adopt different policies when handling persons with disabilities
"I am not blaming anyone here, I believe the police were only following their standard procedure when dealing with an accused.
"However, what is needed is a different procedure when authorities are handling a disabled person. There is none here. So, what we have seen is that the police cannot act on their own understanding because they have a procedure to follow," the Nasom chairman was quoted as saying by The Star Online on Sunday.
According to Feilina, "an autistic boy, in a body of a man, sees somebody who is pretty and nice and might come up and touch her. This is wrong but he does not know it."
"Sadly, he touched someone (which is wrong) and as far as the girl is concerned, she has been violated. I can't blame the girl either," she said, adding that some sort of protection must also be given to those who hold an OKU card.
The day the incident happened, Hasnah had posted on her Facebook profile, writing about the ordeal Ziqri was put through: