KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 – Student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim was arrested this afternoon under the Sedition Act that his lawyer believes is due to his remarks at a forum on May 13.
Adam Adli, 24 (picture), had apparently told a forum at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall this week that Malaysians “cannot wait for five years to overthrow Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN)”.
“It looks like it’s a crackdown,” Adam Adli’s lawyer Latheefa Koya told The Malaysian Insider today.
She said that Adam Adli was being brought to IPD Jinjang, which is a remand centre, adding that she feared the police would detain him until tomorrow.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported by Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia today as saying that the government would take stern action against those who intended to foment chaos on the streets.
Adam Adli’s friend Mandeep Singh told The Malaysian Insider today that the former was arrested outside his home in Bangsar here.
“As soon as he came out from the building, he was arrested immediately,” said Mandeep, 27.
At the May 13 forum, Adam Adli reportedly called for street demonstrations, saying: “Elections won’t overthrow the government; the people’s power will”.
Anything But Umno (ABU) movement leader Haris Ibrahim said at the same forum that the BN government would be toppled through a street rally.
Several authoritarian regimes in the Middle East have been overthrown through mass demonstrations in the Arab Spring revolution.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR), however, has distanced itself from calls for street protests to overturn the results of Election 2013 that was tainted with widespread reports of electoral fraud.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said last Wednesday that the federal opposition pact would stick to indoor rallies to “voice their disgust” at alleged vote-rigging in the May 5 general polls.
Tens of thousands of Malaysians – many of whom were youths of all races – have thronged six PR rallies throughout the country after the May 5 polls to call for free and fair elections.
PKR communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad was charged yesterday under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) 2012 with failing to give the police 10 days’ notice for a rally at Stadium MBPJ in Kelana Jaya on May 8.
He pleaded not guilty.
Ahmad Zahid was quoted by Utusan Malaysia today as saying that no compromises would be made with the opposition if it resorted to street protests to overthrow the government.
Adam Adli rose to fame when he brought down a banner bearing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s image at a protest for academic freedom in 2011.
He was later suspended from the Sultan Idris University of Education (UPSI) and lost a court bid last month for a judicial review against the suspension.
Najib said last July that the Sedition Act 1948 would be repealed and replaced with a National Harmony Act.
Boo Su-Lyn, the Malaysian Insider