TASEK UTARA 1974: STUDENT-SQUATTER SOLIDARITY
The efforts of students to support the Tasek Utara squatter struggle exposes the genuine character of certain groups and exposes the nature of the existing social system.
What began with the putting up of sheds on empty land became the focus of public attention. In Johore Bharu Prices of commodities in Johore Bahru are among the highest in the whole country.
With soaring inflation and expensive rents ($50/ to $70/ for a cubicle), after failing to obtain housing, the homeless were happy to find a piece of vacant land at Tasek Utara. Just before the election, a few landless families put up their homes at Tasek Utara. Nobody stopped them then.
When the news spread, more land-hungry homeless rushed there. They had seen the National Front pa~y man (later elected MP, or Member of Parliament), who assured them that everything would be alright - apparently to win votes. In addition,the land office had sent their men to investigate and expressed no objection.
Even house lot numbers were issued. This was how some 134 predominantly landless urban Malay families moved into the area - named Kampung Barisan Nasional and Kampung Dato Hussein Onn. They pawned their valuables and invested their savings in the new homes.
However, after the landslide victory in the 1974 general elections, such a "disgusting sight" could not be tolerated in'the state capital of Johore, the traditional stronghold of UMNO and MCA "If the squatters are not taught a lesson, very soon more will follow suit. Forget about the promises. They must be stopped rightaway."