Prime Minister Abdullah Haji Ahmad has urged opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to give his blood sample for a DNA test and prove his innocence, saying that the police want to complete their investigations as soon as possible but was unable to do so because of Anwar's "unwillingness" to co-operate.
Anwar, who is facing sodomy allegations as claimed in the police report by his former employee, refused to entertain any request for blood samples because he believed that the police would fabricate evidence against him. He said the police can look at his DNA profile taken some 10 years ago when he faced similar charge.
However, Abdullah or Pak Lah, who is not an expert in this subject, claimed that the DNA "sample" mentioned by Anwar "is too old, so they need a new sample, what is wrong in giving?"
You are not entirely correct, Pak Lah. DNA or Deoxyribonucleic Acid, a complex chemical substance found in the nucleus of each cell and carries information required for the development of an individual, remains the same and will never be too old.
I was privileged to accompany former de-facto law minister Dr. Rais Yatim when he visited the Department of Chemistry Malaysia, Petaling Jaya, in particular the DNA section under its Forensic Division where the minister was briefed on the subject by the experts including serology/DNA head Primulapathi Jaya. The serology/DNA section is tasked to identify evidence through DNA profiling.
DNA profiling is a technique implemented in forensic laboratories all over the world and can be applied to determine whether evidentiary biological substances found at the crime scene came from the suspect, victim or both. Materials that can be subjected to DNA analysis are substances that are biological in nature and not necessarily from blood, but from saliva, urine, tears, nail, hair and bone.
In October 2003, the government was scheduled to table the DNA Identification Act in Parliament, however it did not do so. The proposed Act would allow police and the Chemistry Department to quickly trace and confirm suspects in cases of rape, murder and other violent crimes. The Act will allow the Chemistry Department to set up a data bank to store DNA profiles of convicts and suspects.
The Act would also empower police to collect blood specimens or take oral swaps from convicted criminal and suspects to be stored in the data bank, to be known as Forensic DNA Data Bank of Malaysia. It will be a fully integrated law enforcement system of DNA records and will establish four files of DNA records for population, forensic (crime stains) index, convicted offender index and missing persons index.
The Anwar Ibrahim episode (of not giving his blood specimen) will not be a legal hindrance had the DNA Act tabled in Parliament in October 2003. It is five years too late for the government to regret.
The DNA Act was then actively pursued by Dr Rais, however, after the 2004 general elections, he was moved to the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry and the law portfolio handed over to Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, then to Nazri Aziz and now to Zaid Ibrahim.
Why was the DNA Act kept in cold storage by the government? Who is responsible? Is it Radzi, Nazri, or Gani Patail (the AG)?