Malaysian police have arrested three prominent opposition figures, under the Sedition Act.
A student has also been charged with sedition over his call for protests against alleged election fraud in Malaysia’s recent general election.
Adam Adli is well known among activist circles in Malaysia.
He first gained attention when he was suspended from a state university after he raised a flag with words “Academic Freedom” to highlight the repressive nature of the universities.
“They stated the university regulations 3 and 4. Tarnishing the name of the university and disturbing the peace on public land. They said that because I took down a banner of the Prime Minister, one Malaysia is ruined.”
Whilst waiting to be readmitted into university, Adam took part in various rallies calling for a clean and fair election system in Malaysia.
He also worked as an announcer at Radio Bangsar Utama.
“I love activism. The key is you choose what you want to do, you don’t see it as a problem; never look at it as a problem. At least we are doing something that is beneficial.”
The government views his activities very differently. On May the 18th Adam was arrested and charged under the Sedition Act.
It was a call for people to protest against the recent election results that got him into trouble.
“I am not here on this stage to talk about history, I am here today because I believe that we cannot wait another 5 years to bring down UMNO. Today I want to ask everyone here to get ourselves organized and take to the streets to seize back power.”
He was arrested outside his workplace in Bangsar, and led away in handcuffs while police raided his office and car.
“Arresting him for 5 days is a form of punishment, it’s not for investigations. We think that this case is to scare the people and is ridiculous,” says S. Arutchelvan, activist from SUARAM, a human rights organisation in Malaysia.
In response human rights organizations organized vigils for him outside the police station where he was held.
“Is our democracy a real democracy? If one person wants to get his voice heard and something like this happens where is this democracy?” asked Abdul Halim is Adam Ali’s father.
“I plead to all the people of Malaysia to open your eyes don’t be blinded in the future.”
He has been released on bail... but if found guilty of sedition he faces up to three years in prison.
“We want to know why they are picking on this young man for words that he spoke when there are so many people who have made far more serious statements, who are scot-free. We think this is selective prosecution and that in itself is an abuse of the criminal justice system,” says Ambiga Sreenevasan, the chairperson of the Bersih movement.
Adam Adli insists he will not be silenced.
“This is not just for me, this is for all of us.”