SEREMBAN - The mother of 16-year-old Muhammad Firdaus Dullah, the mentally-challenged and paraplegic teen who was found in a severely malnourished and filthy state last year, must have looked forward to spending more quality time with him after her release from jail.
Now, Lolanopita Sadi, 41, will not be able to fulfil that wish. Muhammad Firdaus died of what was believed to be an epileptic seizure while having lunch at the government-run Taman Sinar Harapan home, near here, yesterday.
The mother was last year sentenced to four months' jail and fined RM10,000 (S$3,300) after pleading guilty to two charges of neglecting the boy. His plight came to light after Immigration officers conducting raids in the area to weed out illegal foreigners stumbled upon him in a flat in Taman Semarak, Nilai, in June 2014.
It was a heart-wrenching sight yesterday when Lolanopita, known to be a reserved person among reporters who covered her court case, cried inconsolably at the Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital mortuary.
Reporters who tried to approach the mother were politely ignored as she sought solace in the embrace of a female relative.
Hospital director Dr Ariffin Mohamad said they received an emergency call from the home at 12.22pm.
"We immediately dispatched an ambulance there," he said.
Dr Ariffin said medical personnel continued to resuscitate Muhammad Firdaus until he was wheeled into the hospital at 12.57pm.
"However, he was declared dead at 1.15pm," he said.
The public will remember pictures of an emaciated and malnourished Muhammad Firdaus, who was unable to walk, being clad only in a tattered and soiled T-shirt and covered in his own faeces and urine. He weighed a mere 15kg then.
The entire unit was also littered with bits of polystyrene packs, believed to have been used by the mother to pack food for him.
His mother, then a helper at a catering company in Sepang, had claimed that she had to leave him alone as there was no one to look after him when she went to work.
Members of the public rallied to raise almost RM90,000 for the child.
Muhammad Firdaus had been living at the home after he was discharged from hospital following a month's stay.
State Welfare Department director Mohamad Hapil said the teenager had always been healthy and weighed 27kg although he would get seizures occasionally.
Mohamad said Lolanopita had also requested that the department conduct the teen's burial.
Muhammad Firdaus' father died in Sabah in January 2012. He and Lolanopita had been divorced several years earlier. She remarried in 2006 and has another eight-year-old son.
State Welfare, Women and Family Development Committee chairman Datuk Norhayati Omar, who was also present at the hospital, said the state government would provide whatever assistance was required for Muhammad Firdaus' last rites.