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Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Identification Bill 2008 (DNA Bill)

August 21st, 2008 · 2 Comments

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The recent debate not only confine to 1st reading of the DNA Bill in Parliament but society is also debating the motive of enacting the Bill at this point of time.

The bill only contains 27 provisions of which covering the establishment of Forensi DNA Databank Malaysia (Part II), the officers and their scope of power in managing the Databank (Part III), the procedures in extracting/storing & disposing of DNA (Part IV), the offences and punishment under this Bill (Part V).

Under the Bill there are 2 kind of samples may be taken by the relevant officer :-

1st “intimate sample” namely blood, semen, tissue or fluid taken from a person’s body, urine or public hair or a swab from a person’s private parts.

2nd “non-intimate” namely pubic hair, sample taken from a nail or under a nail, a swab from a non-private part and saliva.

Based on section 14 of the Bill,  whoever refuses to give a “non-intimate sample” will be liable to a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or both.

On the other hand, the Bill does not stiplute the punishment for refusing to give “intimate sample”.

The group of person targeted by the Bill seem to be person reasonably suspected of having committed an offence, a detainee and a drug dependent.

Gobind Singh Deo, a lawyer and MP expressed that the Bill will not procure Anwar to be forced to give DNA as it does not has retrospective effect.

It fact it is very rare for a criminal law to have retrospective effect as it may seem to be in contradicting with the rules of law.

Read more about the concept of Ex post facto law.

Removal of DNA Profile

Based on section 18 of the Bill, if the suspect person, who is not convicted for any offence eventually or who is not charged in court for any offence within 1 year from the date the sample taken, the Head of the DNA Databank shall remove the suspect person’s DNA profile from the DNA Database Bank within 6 month from the date the relevant police officer informing him so.

However, it is interesting to note that anyone arrested in England and Wales on suspicion of involvement in any recordable offence (all except the most minor offences) has their DNA sample taken and stored in the database for 100 years, whether or not they are subsequently charged or convicted.   

I believe this is particularly useful for criminal investigation in future. Nevertheless, keeping of 100 years policy has raised the issues of controversy and privacy. 

Conclusive Evidence

Section 24 of the Bill states that information provided from the DNA Databank shall be admissible as a conclusive proof in any court proceeding. I believe the said information ought not to be admissible as conclusive evidence if the accused can prove that his/her DNA sample has been tempered.  

Click here to view the full copy of the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Identification Bill 2008 (DNA Bill)  

Tags: Criminal Law · Malaysian Law News

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 selena // Sep 15, 2008 at 5:10 am

    I am a fan of CSI, so I understand the convenience for the relevant authority to nab the criminals. However, it is always in paramount importance to set up a fair procedure before we move on to the substance of law.
    I cannot agree more for the re-drafting of this DNA bill in order to insert fair procedures.
    All in all, presumption of innocence is the underlying principle in criminal law. The procedure for the relevant authority to compel a person (a suspected person, adult, children) to give his/her samples is truly unreasonable. If this bill is approved, then a bank of DNA for all Malaysians shall be set up in the near future. I cannot imagine what will happen next then.

  • 2 Eddie Law // Sep 16, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    selena – many times the law itself is only a neutral thing, it is mainly depend on how it is executed.

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