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Child’s prints less reliable

Wednesday May 4, 2005

Child’s prints less reliable

PUTRAJAYA: The National Registration Department feels that the period of maturity of fingerprints to make them viable to be lifted off a person is after he or she reaches 12 years of age. 

This is because fingerprints of younger children will still be developing and are thus less reliable for identification purposes. 

However, the department was keeping an open mind on the suggestion by the police that Malaysians be finger-printed and foot-printed at birth for easy identification of criminals in the future. 

Its director-general Datuk Wan Ibrahim Wan Ahmad said the department was willing to discuss the suggestion with the relevant parties and would look at the existing provisions in the law. 

However, as of now, he said, there was no provision that required Malaysians below 12 to be finger-printed and none for anyone, irrespective of age, to be foot-printed. 

Under the National Registration Act 1959, only children over 12 years old are required to be finger-printed when they apply for their MyKad national identity card. 

Even then, they are required to renew the document between the ages of 18 and 25 when their fingerprints are recorded again.  

Federal Crime Scene Section head Supt Amidon Anan had suggested both fingerprints and footprints of newborn babies be taken in future to help police identify people, especially criminals, over time. 

He was quoted as saying that in the United States, infants were palm-printed and foot-printed before they left hospital.  

In Malaysia, all newborn are now issued with MyKid, a new chip-based identity card for children below 12. 

Its applications are almost the same as MyKad, minus picture and fingerprints, and it carries an identity number that will be used by the carrier for all future purposes. 

MyKid does not replace the birth certificate, which is issued upon a baby’s birth being registered, but is issued about a month later based on information provided at the time of registration of the birth. 

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