Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Key points of DNA Identification Bill 2008

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 26, 2008) : The much-talked-about DNA Identification Bill 2008 is being debated in Parliament for second reading. The following are the key points in the Bill:

» The Act defines "non-intimate sample" and "intimate sample".

The former covers samples of hair (other than pubic hair), a nail or from under a nail, a swab taken from any part of a person’s body other than a part from which a swab taken would be an intimate sample or saliva

The latter means a sample of blood, semen or any other tissue or fluid taken from a person’s body, urine or pubic hair or a swab taken from any part of a person’s genitals (including pubic hair) or from a person’s body orifice other than the mouth

» Provides for the setting up of a Forensic DNA Databank Malaysia which will keep and maintain indices for the purpose of human identification in relation to forensic investigation.

» Prescribes procedures for taking, storing, disposing of DNA samples and removal of DNA profile and information.

» An intimate sample of a suspect, a detainee or a drug dependent may be taken for forensic DNA analysis only if an authorised officer authorises it to be taken and an appropriate consent in the prescribed form is given by the person from whom an intimate sample is to be taken. The authorised officer shall only give his authorisation if he has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the person from whom intimate sample is to be taken has committed an offence and that the sample will tend to confirm or disprove the commission of that offence.

» The procedures for taking of non-intimate sample are similar, except that the sample may be taken by a government medical officer or a police officer or chemist. A police officer may use all means necessary for the purpose of taking or assisting the taking of a non-intimate sample from him.

» A person who refuses to give a sample of his DNA or obstructs the taking of such a sample commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or be jailed not more than a year, or both.

» Any person found tampering with any DNA profile or any information shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding RM50,000 or to both.

» Notwithstanding any written law to the contrary, any information from the DNA Databank shall be admissible as conclusive proof of the DNA identification in any proceedings in any court.

» No action, suit, prosecution or other proceedings shall lie or be brought, instituted or maintained in any court against the minister, the head of DNA Databank, the deputy head of DNA Databank, DNA Databank officers, a government medical officer or a chemist in respect of any act, neglect, default or omission done by him in good faith in carrying out his powers, functions and responsibilities under this Act in such capacity.

Updated: 12:33AM Wed, 27 Aug 2008

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