Thursday, August 28, 2008

The DNA Bill - Episode 2

The DNA Bill which was tabled on August 18 for the first reading was seen as a desperate act by the government to force Anwar Ibrahim to surrender his DNA [Read DNA expires...or so we were told]. If that was seen as an act of manipulating the law of this country to serve a personal political agenda, the latest move by the government on August 26 is a clear-cut direct abuse of power.

The DNA Bill was scheduled to be tabled for a second reading in the 11th Parliament session and after the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board Bill. However, the government had decided to bring forward the reading of the DNA Bill thus speeding up its process of it being passed as a law. On top of that, the bill had not been given enough time to be reviewed by experts in the relevant field or by any ethics committee. Opposition MPs in the Dewan Rakyat unanimously protested against the government's latest move citing it had sinister motives. This latest tussle between the two sides of the fence happened on the same day when the Permatang Pauh by-election which eventually Anwar won was taking place . Coincidence?

PAS MP from Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub (right) stated that the Universities and Universities Colleges (Amendment) Bill 2008 was presented during the previous Parliamentary session. Therefore, the Opposition MPs were busy preparing their debate points on the bill and had not expected the DNA Bill to be tabled so soon. [The Star, 27/8/08]

However, deputy House Speaker Ronald Kiandee brushed off the Opposition's claims saying that the government had the right to give priority to any bill it felt more important. He also stated that the government did not need to 'give any reasons' to do so.

What was so important that the government had to bring the second reading of the DNA Bill forward? Apparently, it was Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar's health.

"The Bill was supposed to be tabled after the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board Bill, but I was unwell so I asked for it to be moved down the order paper and be tabled later," Home Minister Datuk Syed Hamid Albar (left) told reporters at the Parliament lobby. [The Malaysian Insider, 26/8/08]

However, the quote above from the Home Minister was omitted from national newspapers like The Star and New Straits Times.

Ronald Kiandee and Syed Hamid had contradicted each other without realising it. On one hand, the deputy House Speaker said the government felt that the DNA Bill was more important than the Tobacco Bill. And on the other, Syed Hamid said he requested the DNA bill to be tabled earlier because he was feeling unwell. So who decided to push the DNA Bill ahead of its schedule; the government or Syed Hamid Albar?

Also, shouldn't the Home Minister postpone the reading rather than bringing it forward if he was truly feeling unwell?

Syed Hamid also claimed that the reading of the DNA Bill had actually been delayed as the government wanted to accommodate the rapid changes in the forensic field into the bill. [E-Media News, 27/8/08]

Gee, I wonder what they were? Perhaps, scientists had finally discovered that DNA actually expires and somehow decided to share this "breakthrough" only with the Malaysian government.

Although there were much protests against the bill, the Opposition continues to state that they had nothing against the bill but only the timing and the apparent urgency surrounding it. Likewise, lawyers from the Human Rights Committee of the Bar Council called for the bill to be withdrawn from the Dewan Rakyat until proper public consultations and reports have been gathered from experts such as chemists, criminologists and lawyers.

With Anwar declaring victory at Permatang Pauh, it is likely that this is the government's last audacious attempt to get Anwar behind bars and ultimately stop the Opposition from taking over the federal government on Sept 16.

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  1. siewkwan said...

    Wow, the government is again, contradicting themselves. When will they live up to what they claim publicly, I wonder...