Anifah attacks DNA Bill

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 28 — On the day Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim returned to Parliament and took his place as opposition leader, a leading Barisan Nasional MP attacked the DNA Identification Bill.

Considered the de facto Sabah leader in the Dewan Rakyat, Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman told the House that “implications of many clauses in the Bill have not been thought through”.

Anifah, the brother of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, said that according to Clause 24, DNA analyses would be considered conclusive proof over-riding other evidence in court and in Clause 7, a high-ranking police officer would be appointed chief of the DNA databank.

“I propose that an independent DNA expert not in the employ of the police be appointed as the chief and deputy,” he said, explaining also that this was to ensure the integrity of investigations.

“To an accused, he will always question the integrity when the investigator who is seeking conviction and the one in charge of storing evidence is the same party,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

When asked if he was defying the party whip, he denied it, claiming that he was merely “making suggestions to complement the Bill”.

“It’s not about which party you are from. You must go with your conscience. The Bill has a lot of loopholes and they don’t just apply to members of the opposition but to everyone.”

He clarified also that the speech in the debate was only his personal view as an MP.

Anifah was widely speculated to be one of a number of Sabah MPs said to be ready to cross over to Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat to fulfil his plans to form the federal government.

Dissident BN leader and Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Yong Teck Lee had two months ago called on the Umno politician to lead an independent group of MPs from Sabah and Sarawak although he promptly turned down the invitation.

“While I share the sentiments expressed by the SAPP in promoting the interests of Sabah, I still believe in the Barisan Nasional,” Anifah had told The Malaysian Insider.

When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi formed his Cabinet after the March 8 general election, Anifah had turned down the position of deputy transport minister. Some media reported that he had thrown a tantrum, claiming he is senior enough to be made a full minister.

The DNA Bill, tabled by Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Albar, has been hotly debated these past few days due to its supposed relation to allegations of sodomy against Anwar where DNA evidence has become a key issue. The opposition is seeking to bring the Bill to a select committee to make amendments to proposed legislation which has come under fire from parliamentarians and also the Bar Council.

A select committee is a panel that collects more feedback from the public and interest groups to clear any weaknesses in a Bill. Once that is completed, the committee will reintroduce the Bill for debate.


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