KUALA LUMPUR: Rock chick Zarith Sofia Mohd Yasin, who allegedly kept a sun bear cub that she thought was a dog in her condominium last week, has been charged at the Sessions Court today.
Clad in a pink sweater and checkered pants, the 27-year-old local singer claimed trial to two counts of keeping and confining the endangered species at her home in Desa Pandan, here.
For the first charge, Zarith had allegedly kept a juvenile sun bear (Helarctos Malayanus), a totally protected species under the Second Schedule of the Wildlife Conservation Act 2010 (Act 716), without a special permit.
The charge framed under Section 69(1) of the Act carries a fine not exceeding RM200,000 or an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both, if convicted.
For the second charge, the Johor Baru-born rocker was accused of confining the baby sun bear in premises unconducive to the comfort and health of the wildlife.
The charge under Section 86(1)(c) of the Act carries a fine of not less than RM5,000 and not more than RM50,000, or an imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or both, if convicted.
The offences were allegedly committed in Desa Pandan at about 8pm on June 6.
Deputy public prosecutor Munirah Zainal Abidin offered no bail to the accused, saying that it was a serious offence.
“If the accused was released on bail, she might interfere with the witnesses involved in the trial, but if the court wants to impose bail, the prosecution proposes RM30,000 as the amount,” she said.
Meanwhile, counsel Datuk Mohd Haziq Pillay Abdullah, who represented Zarith, pleaded for a reasonable bail to be imposed as his client has to support her parents who are operating a food stall in Melaka.
“Her father had just undergone a brain tumour surgery. The court can impose conditions but not an excessive bail. I plead to this court to impose a reasonable bail to my client,” he said.
Judge Manira Mohd Nor then set RM10,000 bail in one surety and ordered for the accused to report to the police station each month.
The case will be up for mention on July 19.
It was reported that a local recording artiste was arrested after a video clip of a sun bear cub attempting to escape a condominium unit went viral on social media.
The 27-year-old singer was arrested by officers from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) during a raid on her home at 8pm last week.
The officers were acting on a tip-off by members of the public.