1967-74 Hassan Karim

Moreover, the length of courses of study i.e. over 3 or 4 yearss limited student involvement. When good leaders graduated on completion of their studies, continuity and experience were often lost, and not easily replaced.

Lack of Contact With the People

Although the student movement championed peoples' issues from 1967 to 1974, a close study would reveal that the contact
After the demonstrations

between students and the people, particularly those in the ruraI areas, was far from being close or was only in 1967 , 1973 and 1974 that efforts to bridge this gap were given more serious attention.

An Issue-Oriented Straggle

A clear weakness of the Malaysian student movement was its heavy issue-orientation, such that activities were only organised as issues came up. Thus, much student activity was spontaneous in nature, and not well-planned. Leaders seldom planned activities with a long term perspective. Many students and their Ieaders were prone to complacency and many developed a care-free, and sometimes even irresponsible attitude. This may be due to the fact that student movements are, by nature, not well-disciplined organizations. This lack of discipline contributed to this negative feature of the student movement.

Lack of Support from Intellectuals

The student movement seldom got support from academics and intellectuals. While it cannot be denied that there were lecturers and intellectuals who supported the students' struggle, their numbers were smalI. The majority of intellectuals were silent and were usually unwilling to be vocal. Because of this lack of involvement by the inteIlectual community, the student movement was unable to analyse issues with sufficient depth.


The extent of the contribution of the student movement to society at large is a difficult question.

Despite this, the importance of a strong student movement must be recognised, especially in a young country like ours, where a large proportion of the people are poorly-educated and poor, and where political consciousness is rather confused.

We cannot deny that Malaysian students have a social responsibility. At the zenith of their strength, they emerged as champions of the people.

The present curbs on the student movement also stand in the way of the development of an independent, progressive intelligentsia in our country which can contribute to solving some of our fundamental problems.