Adam Adli was today released on bail of RM5000. He has claimed trial to a charge of sedition. Case mention will be on 2 July.
— Nathaniel Tan (@NatAsasi) May 23, 2013
Anwar Ibrahim started off as a student leader from 1968, at the age of 21. He was arrested in 1974, when he was 27, after shooting to prominence during student protests against rural poverty and hunger. Anwar was detained under the ISA for 20 months. At that time, Najib’s father Tun Abdul Razak was prime minister and he appointed Mahathir to the Cabinet as Minister of Education in 1974.
Adam hit the news when he was 22, as a teacher trainee at the Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, when he lowered a flag with Najib’s image on it at the Umno headquarters. Now 24, he finds himself hauled up under the law during the the administration of Razak’s son, Najib. Mahathir is still lurking in the background somewhere.
Like the early Anwar, Adam has become something of a cause celebre among many students, notwithstanding his brash comments – youthful exuberance? – that landed him in trouble.
But in this post-GE2013 era, Adam’s appeal cuts across the various ethnic groups who are longing for a new Malaysia where ethnic and religious diversity will be celebrated instead of being considered a barrier to greater unity. This is the era of new politics, an era when the younger generation are more open and aren’t as easily intimidated by the old tactics.
This paradigm, however, threatens the race-based worldview – the old politics of divide and rule – of the BN elites and that is why many of them view Adam and his rising popularity with much disdain and increasing nervousness. By hauling up Adam, the authorities may have inadvertently brightened his aura.