On 30 June 2021, Sinar Harian reported “PDRM ulangi cadangan sampel DNA bayi diambil, disimpan dalam bank data”. The article stated that the Royal Malaysia Police (“PDRM”) urged Putrajaya to reconsider its proposal to collect samples of deoxyribonucleic acid (“DNA”) from newborn babies, to fight crime more effectively.
PDRM Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department (“CID”) Director, Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan pointed out that PDRM had made this proposal in 2001. However, it was rejected on several grounds, namely human rights and the fear of abuse of the samples. He went on to say that society must understand that criminal cases and communal issues could be solved more quickly and provide justice to the victims with the availability of DNA profiles in the databank.
Datuk Seri stated that the PDRM hoped that all stakeholders understood the importance of having a complete DNA data bank, apart from facilitating any pursuit to track down criminals.
It was reported by Bukit Aman that as at 25 June 2021, 160,000 DNA profiles were kept at the PDRM DNA Databank and that the police had solved 131 cases through DNA matchings via this databank. According to the police, collection and storage of the DNA profiles were very important to assist the police in its investigations.
This report triggered alarm bells and led to extensive discussions on the request by PDRM.
The Malaysian Bar, in its response to the report, said the police’s proposal to take DNA samples from newborn babies for identification purposes violates a person’s privacy and civil liberties, and may pave the way for more onerous purposes in the future.
The DNA Identification Act 2009 states that the DNA Databank shall consist of the following indices: crime scene index, suspected persons index, convicted offenders index, detainee index, drug dependants index, missing persons index, and voluntary index.
With the above scenario in hand, the Bar Council Child Rights Committee (“CRC”) is pleased to provide a platform for a deeper, meaningful, and constructive discussion on taking and storing DNA samples of newborn babies. Come join us and share your views and concerns about this matter.
Upon viewing all the videos and completing the quiz in this course, you will be given 2 CPD points.