Barisan backbencher: Don't blindly support DNA Bill

KUALA LUMPUR: A Sabahan MP proved to be the lone voice of dissent among backbenchers when he asked his peers not to blindly support the DNA Identification Bill as “it would be meaningless for the Parliament to accept its current version.”

Datuk Anifah Aman (BN-Kimanis) said although he was convinced that the Bill was not aimed at anyone, the Government had "obviously not thought of the implications of some of the provisions contained in the Bill."

“The Opposition should not oppose this Bill for the sake of opposition but neither should the backbenchers blindly support it.

"Many of the clauses have not been drafted properly. Are they aware of the serious implication of recommending that DNA identification be made ‘conclusive proof’ in court?

"If this is accepted, this means that the court cannot take into account other conflicting evidence. This will tie the hands of the court and will not allow any challenge to be made on the DNA evidence,” he said in his debate.

"As MPs, can we be sure that there won’t be any mistake or negligence in the collecting of DNA samples?” asked Anifah, adding that DNA proof should be regarded as “prima facie evidence” instead.

In their debate, most of the backbenchers had recommended for the Bill to be passed, arguing that this was “long overdue”.

Anifah also questioned the appointment of a police officer to head the DNA databank, as this was “inappropriate” due to the conflict of interest, adding that it was better and fairer for a neutral DNA expert to be chosen instead.

"More safeguards must be put into place to ensure there is no abuse of power,” he pointed out.

He also argued that some of the clauses forcing prisoners to give their DNA samples went against Article 7 of the Federal Constitution, which disallowed anyone to be punished under laws that had yet to be introduced.

Star Online
28/08/08

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