1967-74 Hassan Karim

The Struggle Continues

Even though the leaders of the squatters and the students had been detained, the squatters of Tasik Utara continued to picket in front of the Johore State Secretariat building.

At 5.30 p.m. on 22nd September, the FRU surrounded the picket site and arrested 41 squatters and 7 students.

The squatters and students demonstrated in front of the Johore court-house to protest the arrests. At this demonstration, 3 more students were arrested.

UMSU Suspended

UMSU was to pay a high price for its involvement in the Tasik Utara incident and their decision to take over the university administration.

The government which for a long time had been trying to crush the student movement now had an excuse to act against UMSU.

Several days after USMU took ovesr the campus, the government suspended it.

The Baling Events

If the Tasik Utara incident was the prelude, the Baling incident was
"The people suffer,the rulers forget their obligations"

s surely the climax of the student struggle in the post-1969 period.
While Tasik Utara is in Johore, in the south, Baling is up north, in Kedah.

The Baling events are important not only in relation to the student's struggle, but also in relation to the history of the present struggle in Malaysia.

The Baling events began on l9th November 1974, when more than 1,000 peasants demonstrated.

Their demonstrations continued on the 20th and 21 st November. On the 21 st, more than 13,000 people from Baling and the surrounding areas of Weng, Bangar, Lanai, Pulai, Kupang, Tawar, Parit Panjang, Kuala Pegang, Siong and Sungai Lalang staged mass demonstrations, which converged on Baling.

Why did the farmers in Baling demonstrate? the answer lies in the misery and suffering they were facing. Inflation from 1973 had caused the prices of food and other basic necessities to soar.

Sugar, which had cost only 30 cents a kati, cost 60 cents; the price of flour rose from 20 cents to 50 cents.

As these prices increased, the price of rubber was falling; affecting a majority of the residents of Baling distriet, who were mostly rubber smallholders.