Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia will help Australia boost its capacity to respond to mass disasters by hosting forensic science students from Western Australia for a two-week intensive course.
Murdoch University forensic science lecturer Dr. Paola Magni worked with the head of UKM Forensics Dr. Raja Zuha to organize the important strategic initiative that will assist budding forensic experts to sharpen their crime and disaster scene investigation skills.
Dr. Magni said: “I’m particularly excited that students will have the unique opportunity of learning from terrestrial and aquatic forensic experts at UKM Forensics.
“This is a small but expanding discipline and there are only a few specialists in the world who can work in this environment.
“With the extent of people smugglers operating in the Indo-Pacific region and tragic boat and plane sinkings, the outcomes of this collaboration will be extremely important for both countries.”
The project, titled “Breaking down barriers for justice: an intercultural approach to Crime Scene Investigation”, is funded by the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program supporting undergraduate students to participate in practicums and research in the Indo-Pacific region.
Dr. Magni said the initiative has important strategic implications in the current global environment of growing terror attacks and natural disasters that involve victims from many nations.
>UKM Forensics has the primary objective to improve the quality of forensic science services in Malaysia by providing education and research platforms, to ensure the correct application of forensic science in the court of law.
To achieve this goal, UKM Forensics has developed new educational and training facilities that include strategic cooperation with various forensic and enforcement agencies.
Recently, UKM Forensics signed a MoU with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency to work closely in developing maritime forensics in the region. Thanks to the NCP, the doors of this new facilities are now open to Australian students.
In disasters with mass casualties – such as a tsunami, plane crash or boat sinking – forensic experts and law enforcement agencies from different nationalities and with varying skills often have to collaborate.
The students will gain experience in working across jurisdictions with police, fire, and maritime forensic agencies and be better qualified to represent Australia within the Indo-Pacific region.
For the first time, Malaysian and Australian forensic students will have the possibility to work alongside in such inspiring environment and learn from each other.
Dr Zuha is also looking forward to positive outcomes, consistent with the growing interest in forensic science education at higher learning institutions and the recognition of UKM Forensics as forensic learning hub in the region.
He said: “We aim to make forensic science a sustainable learning discipline at the university by embracing diversity in knowledge and expertise. NCP provides us an excellent platform to develop a new forensic learning model.”
Dr. Magni said the collaboration with UKM Forensics represents the beginning of a long-term bilateral partnership that will benefit both nations.
Dr. Paola Magni
Forensic entomology and aquatic forensics
Dr. Paola Magni is a forensic biologist who focuses on the natural science of crime scene investigation. This includes the analysis of Entomology (insects), taphonomy (decomposition until fossilization) and aquatic biology. She works in both land and aquatic environments.
Trained in Australia and Europe, and USA (FBI Human Remains Recovery School) Dr. Magni has 10 years of experience as researching, teaching and acting as an expert witness in the Italian Courts.
She is the developer of ‘SmartInsects – Forensic Entomology’, the smart phone App designed to facilitate the work of law enforcement agencies and pathologists at crime scenes. She is the scriptwriter for the Italian version of CSI.
Dr. Raja Muhammad Zuha Raja Kamal Bashah
Head of Programme / University Lecturer DS51
Expertise: Entomology Forensic / Criminology
Dr. Raja Zuha was born and raised in Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaysia. He went to S.M.S. Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra for his high school education.
He graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Biomedical Science (Hons) from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and a Master Degree in Master Criminal Justice (MCJ) from Universiti Malaya.
Currently, he is the Head of Forensic Science Program at UKM and he also serves as a university lecturer. Feel free to check out his current research project that he has completed in the past by checking out his UKM Experts Profile.