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Govt urged to adopt different justice procedures for persons with disabilities


PETALING JAYA: Several organisations have urged the government to review and adopt different policies when handling persons with disabilities after the arrest and overnight detention of a young man with autism who had allegedly outraged the modesty of a woman. 

National Autism Society of Malaysia (Nasom) chairman Feilina Muhammad Feisol (pic) said there needs to be a different procedure when authorities deal with persons with autism. 

"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," she told The Star on Sunday (Sept 16).  

On Sept 11, Ahmad Ziqri Morshidi, a 22-year-old with autism was arrested by the police for allegedly molesting a woman. 

The police applied for a four-day remand the next day but this was rejected by the Petaling Jaya magistrate's court. Ahmad was then released on police bail. 

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

Feilina pointed out that Malaysia was not the only country that does not have a standard procedure to deal with disabled persons.

She said those with autism are unable to comprehend what is right or wrong. 

"Unfortunately, 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. 

Feilina added that some sort of protection must also be given to those who hold an OKU (disabled person) card. She explained that Ahmad Ziqri was arrested and treated as a common criminal even though he had an OKU card.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Disabled Prihatin Secretariat chairman Mohd Faisal Che Yusof reiterated the call for a different policy to be used by the authorities to handle those with disabilities. 

"The authorities such as the Attorney-General, the Home Affairs ministry and even the police must look into the procedures involving those with disabilities. 

"In this case, the government must do a thorough study on the justice procedure because this does not involve those with autism or Down's syndrome.

"Even those who are deaf too face problems with the police due to a breakdown in communication," he said.
 
   

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