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'You're in a Gerak Khas movie', mother told adult autistic son when he was arrested

PETALING JAYA: The mother of a young autistic man who was arrested for allegedly outraging the modesty of a woman had to tell her son that he was in a Gerak Khas movie so he would not be traumatised by the incident.

On Sept 11, Ahmad Ziqri Morshidi, a 22-year-old man with autism, was arrested for allegedly molesting a woman by touching her chest.

He was then taken to court to be remanded the next day, which meant that he had to spend the night in the police lock-up.

His mother, Hasnah Abdul Rahman told The Star on Sunday (Sept 16) that her son – who is of diminished mental capacity – did not understand the consequences of his actions nor why he was being arrested.

"I'm not blaming the police, and I don't blame the complainant either. Putting myself in her shoes, it can be a harrowing experience, especially when you are not exposed to autism and my son looks like a normal guy.

However, Hasnah wished that the police could have handled her son's unique situation differently.

"If everybody were to sit down and listen to explanations, look at the medical report and then later judge for themselves, and make the necessary arrangements then that should be the way," she said.

Hasnah said people like her autistic son are children in adult bodies.

"We need to address this delicately and the police need to have more interaction with such pecularities so that they know how to handle (such situations)," she said, adding that she is unaware if there is a police standard operating procedure for handling people with disabilities.

Hasnah added that the police applied for a four-day remand but this was denied by the magistrate's court. Ahmad Ziqri was then released on police bail.

He is being investigated under Section 354 of the Penal Code for outrage of modesty.

"I don't mind if the police want a blood test or even a medical test done, our family can always bring him over," she said, adding that detaining her son for four days would have been detrimental to his mental health.

She added that after taking her son home on his release, he was not his usual self.

"I noticed that after he got home from Court, he did not want to change his clothes and eat," she said.

She however expressed relief that the Welfare Department would be counselling her son on Monday (Sept 16) to check on him.

"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 said.

Hasnah said that 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.

"He is intelligent but he uses it on things that does not help him in real life. He has a good memory, he knows when certain things are built, can tell you details but he can't tie his own shoelaces. People may take it for granted, but for people like him, it is a challenge," she said.

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