Singer pleads not guilty to keeping sun bear without permit



A singer claimed trial in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court today to two counts of keeping and confining a sun bear cub at her condominium in Desa Pandan last week.

Zarith Sofia Yasin, 27, only nodded when the charges were read out before judge Manira Mohd Nor.

According to the first charge, Zarith Sofia was alleged to have kept a sun bear cub – a totally protected species under the Second Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 – without a special permit.

The charge under Section 69(1) of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 provides for a fine of up to RM200,000 or imprisonment of up to 10 years or both upon conviction.

The singer was also accused of confining the same bear cub in an environment that was not conducive to its comfort and health, and was charged under Section 86(1)(c) of the same act.

The provision carries a fine of not less than RM5,000 and not exceeding RM50,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both upon conviction.

Zarith Sofia (photo) was alleged to have committed both offences at a Sentrio Pandan Condominium unit in Desa Pandan at 8pm on June 8.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Munirah Zainal Abidin did not offer bail on the grounds that a crime involving protected wildlife was a serious offence.

She said, however, that if the court wanted to allow bail, it should be set at RM30,000.

Zarith Sofia, represented by lawyer Mohd Haaziq Pillay Abdullah, appealed for a lower bail on the grounds that she was supporting her family.

The court then allowed the accused an RM10,000 bail in one surety for both charges, with additional conditions that she must report to the police station once a month, not interfere with prosecution witnesses, and surrender her passport to the court until the disposal of the case.

The court fixed July 19 for mention.

- Bernama

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