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CRC Webinar Series on Protecting Children | Series #9. Taking DNA Samples of Newborn Babies: A Breach of Human Rights vs Tracking
Presenters : Mr. YA Dato' Mah Weng Kwai, Dr. Jose Antonio Lorente, Datuk Hussein Omar Khan, Ms. Nor Aidora Saedon & Santhi Balachandran
Posted in : Child Rights
CPD Activity (2.0 credits)
About the Course
This webinar will cover the following aspects:
  • 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.

About the Presenters

YA Dato' Mah Weng Kwai
YA Dato' Mah Weng Kwai, Judge, Court of Appeal. YA Dato’ Mah Weng Kwai was called to the English Bar as a barrister-at-law in 1971 and to the Malaysian Bar as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in July 1972. In 1973, Dato’ Mah joined the Judicial and Legal Services of Malaysia andd held, among others, the posts of President of the Sessions Court, Deputy Public Prosecutor and Senior Federal Counsel of the Civil Claims Division. He left service in 1985 and commenced private practice as the principal of Messrs Mah Weng Kwai & Associates. Dato’ Mah is a past President of the Malaysian Bar and of LAWASIA, an international organisation concerned with the legal profession in the Asia-Pacific region. He was also a member of the Legal Profession Qualifying Board and the Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board. Dato’ Mah was appointed a Judicial Commissioner of the High Court of Malaya on 4 Jan 2010 and subsequently, a Judge of the High Court of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur with effect from 10 Aug 2011. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal on 21 Sept 2012.
Dr. Jose Antonio Lorente
Dr Jose Antonio Lorente received his M.D. in 1985 and his Ph.D. (Medicine, Forensic Medicine) in 1989 (Special Honours) from the University of Granada. He also received his qualifications as a Specialist in Occupational & Industrial Medicine (1987) and as a Specialist in Forensic Medicine (1990). Dr Jose has been teaching as a Full Professor of Legal and Forensic Medicine at the University of Granada since 2012. He is the Director of the Laboratory of Genetic Identification at the University of Granada since 1990, as well as the Director of the Pfizer-University of Granada-Andalusian Government Centre for Genomics and Oncological (“GENYO”) since 2007. He is also the Scientific Director for the “Phoenix Program of Spain — Missing Persons Genetic Identification Program” since 1997, and the Scientific Director for the “DNA-PROKIDS – International Missing Kids Identification” since 2004. Dr Jose has published over 160 papers in national and international journals, has spoken and presented in more than 220 national and international meetings, and has also given talks in symposia, congresses, conferences, and meetings in more than 35 countries.
Datuk Hussein Omar Khan
DCP Dato' Hussein Omar Khan is the current Director of Operations of the National Disaster Management Agency (“NADMA”). He received his Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry) degree from University of Malaya; his Master of Science (Forensic Investigation) from Teesside University, Middlesbrough, United Kingdom; and his Master of Business Administration (IT) from Multimedia University (“MMU”). He had formerly served in the Malaysian police force as the Section Head of Forensic Digital from 2008 to 2010 and as the Head of the DNA Databank from 2010 to 2019.
Ms. Nor Aidora Saedon
Nor Aidora Saedon began her career as a chemist in August 1998 in the Department of Chemistry Malaysia. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Malaya in 1998 and a Master of Science (Forensic DNA) from University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2007. She is currently the Director of Forensic DNA Division under the Forensic Science Analysis Centre, Department of Chemistry Malaysia. Her professional contributions to the chemistry field, especially pioneering work in forensic DNA analysis was recognised internationally. She is currently the Vice-Chairman of DNA Working Group of Asian Forensic Sciences Network (“AFSN”). She is a very active researcher, specialising in DNA forensic science analysis. She has authored and co-authored scholarly articles and journals for national and international publications and is also active as a presenter in the DNA analysis field at conferences and symposiums nationally and internationally.
Santhi Balachandran
Santhi Balachandran graduated with LL.B (Hons) from University of London (External) in 1995 and completed her Certificate in Legal Practice (CLP) in 1997. She was admitted as an advocate and solicitor of the High Court of Malaya in 1998. She is a partner of Messrs Lee & Tengku Azrina. Santhi has vast experience in litigation and her main area of expertise lies in banking matters, commercial and corporate civil litigation, industrial relations/employment law, including family law (such as divorce, adoption, custody etc.)