Dewan Rakyat: DNA Bill undermines court's jurisdiction, say lawyers

THE Bar Council wants the government to withdraw the Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) Identification Bill 2008, arguing that it removes the court's jurisdiction to determine the validity of DNA information tendered as evidence.

The Bar's Human Rights Committee chairman Edmund Bon said Section 24 of the bill would allow any information from the DNA databank to be admitted as conclusive proof in any court proceeding.

The section states "Notwithstanding any written law to the contrary, any information from the DNA Databank shall be admissible as a conclusive proof of the DNA identification in any proceeding in court".

Bon said: "If this is the case, the accused would not be in a position to question the validity of the evidence or the credibility of the chemist."

Bon made the call at a press conference held by Loke Siew Fook (DAP-Rasah) and Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Bandar Kuching) in the lobby yesterday.

Bon also expressed concern over Section 13(7) of the bill, which allows police officers to "use all means necessary" in taking a DNA sample.

"This could lead to cases of abuse."

Bon said the Bar was not against the government setting up a DNA databank but warned that these sections would pave the way for Malaysia to become a "police state".

He said the bill should not be tabled until an adequate Data Protection Act was in place to ensure the privacy rights of those whose DNA data had been collected.

Chong, a practising lawyer, described the clause as "very dangerous as it removes the court's ability to ensure the validity of all DNA evidence tendered in court".

"We know through our practice as lawyers that the police, when producing evidence, are known to make mistakes.

"The court's role is to scrutinise the police's procedures in producing evidence and Section 24 (of the bill) takes this process away."

Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar, who tabled the bill yesterday, said the timing had nothing to do with the "weakened" presence of the opposition in the House or the sodomy charge faced by Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

When he tabled the bill there were only 10 Opposition members in the house.

"The bill was supposed to be tabled after the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board Bill, but I was unwell so I asked for it to be moved down the order paper. There is no sinister motive," he said in the lobby after tabling the bill for a second reading.

Syed Hamid explained the timing of the bill after Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) led a chorus of protest.

V. Vasudevan, Eileen Ng, Joseph Sipalan, Irdiani Mohd Salleh and Ili Liyana Mokhtar
New Straits Times

No comments:

Do feel free to provide suggestions, ideas, comments, complaints or articles. Thank you


To post comments, you need not log in to the Google account, just click Anonymous.

Malaysian Indian Ethnic Cleansing by UMNO led government