KUALA LUMPUR – September 20, 2018: Police have decided to redraw the standard operating procedure (SOP) in handling suspects with autism.
The decision followed intense public criticism over police’s handling of the case involving autistic youth, Ahmad Ziqri Morshidi, 22, who was arrested last week for allegedly molesting a woman in Subang Jaya.
Ziqri’s arrest made headlines after a video of him being handcuffed, in spite of his disability, went viral.
Research and development head of the Inspector-General of Police Secretariat Datuk Ramli Din was quoted by Malay Mail today as saying that among the current practices under review are the use of handcuffs for autistic suspects and consideration for them to be accompanied by a guardian upon arrest or remand.
“We decided this is necessary after realising that there are growing concerns among the public and human rights activists about how the police deal with suspects afflicted with autism,” he told a press conference at Pusat Permata Kurnia here.
He said the decision was made after police consulted experts at Permata Kurnia, which is a government-owned special needs and early education centre for children with autism, and non-governmental organisation Yayasan Pengaman.
He said police will work with both organisations to improve their awareness and understanding of autism.
“By working together with Permata Kurnia and Yayasan Pengaman Malaysia, police officers can gain better understanding of what autism is and how it affects those suffering from it,” he added.
Permata Kurnia director Dr Hasnah Toran in a statement said she was touched and proud of the police’s positive reaction to the Ahmad Zikri’s case.
“I would also like to thank the non-governmental organization Yayasan Pengaman for the effort in initiating this act,” said Hasnah.
Dr Hasnah said Permata Kurnia is eager to help the police understand more about autism and that they are in discussion to provide autism awareness training to policemen and provide input on the new SOP for handling autistic suspects.
“Permata Kurnia hopes to provide trainings on-the-line and also face-to-face,” said Dr Hasnah.