Singer with a sun bear pleads not guilty

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 12 Jun 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: A singer has pleaded not guilty to two charges related to keeping a sun bear cub, a protected species, without a permit and for keeping the animal in a non-conducive environment.

Zarith Sofia Yasin, 27, allegedly committed the offence at her house in Sentrio Pandan condominium at Desa Pandan on June 6 at about 8pm.

At the Sessions Court here Wednesday (June 12), she was charged under Section 69 (1) of the Wildlife Protection Act 2010 for keeping a protected species without a special permit, and Section 86 (1C) under the same Act for keeping the animal in an environment that was not conducive to its health and comfort.

Deputy public prosecutor Munirah Zainal Abidin requested Zarith be denied bail on the account of the seriousness of the crime and the potential that the accused would disturb witnesses.

Munirah later however said that if the court was to offer Zarith bail, it should be set at RM30,000.

Lawyer Datuk Mohd Haaziq Pillay Abdullah, who was representing Zarith pro bono, asked for her bail to be set at lower amount, saying that she only earned RM3,500 on average a month at her job as a singer and that she also has to support her parents.

Mohd Haaziq also argued that there was no evidence that Zarith would disturb witnesses.

Judge Manira Mohd Nor set the bail at RM10,000, and set July 19 for case mention.

Manira also stipulated that Zarith has to report to a police station every first of the month, and ordered her to surrender her passport to the court until the case is over.

If found guilty under Section 69 (1) of the Wildlife Protection Act 2010, a person can be fined not more than RM200,000 or jailed for no more than 10 years; or both.

If found guilty under Section 86 (1C) of the Wildlife Protection Act 2010, a person can be fined no less than RM5,000 and not exceeding RM50,000, or jailed for no more than one year; or both.

Zarith, a former contestant on the tele­vision programme Rockanova, had allegedly been keeping the sunbear club for about two weeks.

She claimed that she had found the sunbear in a weakened state near Bukit Ampang about two weeks ago and decided to nurse it to health.

The sunbear cub was allegedly found to be in her house after neighbours heard noises coming from the unit.

A neighbour later filmed the cub peeking from an open window while making noises; and the Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) was called in.

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