KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — Student activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim claimed trial this morning to a sedition charge of attempting to topple the government through street protests.
The 24-year-old was charged under section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 and he faces a jail term of not less three years, or a fine of up to RM5,000 or both, if convicted.
Adam Adli, who came to court in a black T-shirt, was represented by lawyers Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, N. Surendran, Afiq M. Noor and Shamsul Iskandar Mat Akin.
He was charged with uttering a seditious statement at a May 13 forum where he allegedly questioned the results of Election 2013 and called on Malaysians to take to the streets to boot Barisan Nasional (BN) from Putrajaya.
According to the charges read out this morning, his words had a seditious tendency and were aimed at rallying Malaysians to change the current government through undemocratic means.
Adam Adli had allegedly said: “Ambil butiran saya, buat laporan polis, kerana hari ini, saya nak ajak semua yang ada di sini, kita harus susun dan kita akan turun ke jalan raya untuk rampas kembali kuasa kita! Boleh atau tidak?! Boleh atau tidak?! Boleh atau tidak?! Kita tak banyak masa lagi, semua siap sedia, beli kasut, beli tracksuit, beli seluar jeans, sedia kita akan turun ke jalan raya sebab akhirnya dalam dunia ketiga macam negara Malaysia, pilihan raya takkan tumbangkan kerajaan kita.
“Yang boleh tumbangkan kerajaan hanyalah kuasa rakyat. Sedara, ingat, ini sahaja peluang yang kita ada …”
[Translation: “Take my details, lodge a police report, because today, I would like to invite all those here today to gather and take to the streets to seize back our power! Can we do that? Can we do that? Can we do that? We do not have much time left, get ready, buy shoes, buy tracksuits, buy jeans, get ready to take to the streets because in a third world country like Malaysia, elections cannot topple a government.
“Only the people’s power can topple a government. Remember, ladies and gentlemen, this is the only opportunity we have.”]
Adam Adli, who was arrested last Saturday, claimed trial to the charge.
Surendran told the court that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had already announced the abolition of the pre-independence Sedition Act, a preventive law often used to crack down on dissent against the government.
“We will apply to strike out the charge at the High Court as soon as possible,” the Padang Serai MP said.
Sessions Court judge Norsharidah Awang, who presided over the matter this morning, said, however, that the law was still in force as the plan to repeal it was still in the early stages.
The court later set bail at RM5,000 with one surety and fixed July 2 for mention of the case.
Yesterday, the police arrested 18, including four women, at a candlelight vigil held for Adam Adli outside the the Jinjang police station here.
Media reports say some 1,000 had gathered outside the police station, which was under tight security in anticipation of a continued night vigil since Adam Adli’s detention on Saturday.
Police had sealed the entrance to the station, according to a report by the Malaysiakini news portal.
It said the vigil had proceeded smoothly until about 10pm when police gave a 10-minute notice to disperse to a crowd listening to PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub.
Student activist Khalid Ismath then attempted to negotiate with the police for an additional 30 minutes, however, the latter only agreed to an extra 10, said the report.
The second 10-minute notice was issued as Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo was speaking to the crowd.
Police then began widened the security cordon around the Jinjang police station and picked up those who refused to leave the area.
Several lawyers, including Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng, Petaling Selatan MP Hee Loy Sian and PAS central committee member Zulkifli Ahmad, attempted to get into Jinjiang police station to assist those held by police.
Police relented to their requests to assist those held for questioning after some intense negotiations, according to eyewitnesses.
It is understood those detained would be released after police questioning.
Adam Adli previously made headlines for bringing down a flag bearing a picture of Najib outside the Umno headquarters at the Putra World Trade Centre in 2011.
He was subsequently suspended from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris on January 9 last year for three semesters.
BY MOHD FARHAN DARWIS The Malaysian Insider