TASEK UTARA 1974: STUDENT-SQUATTER SOLIDARITY
3.15 a.m., l9th September
At 3.15 a.m. on Sept. 19, the FRU and police quietly sneaked into the camp site and arrested five persons. They were: Sdr.Kaliman Jaya, a squatter leader, Sdr. Hishamuddin Rais, (Secretary-General of UMSU (University of Malaya Students Union) 16th Council), Sdr. Mohd. Yunus Ali (Member of the UMSU l6th Council), Sdr. Syed Hamid Ali (Secretary-General of PSRM) and Sdr. Mohd. Amin Ahmad (Secretary of PSRM, Johore Baharu.).
Help from the MP
After the demolition, the squatters tried to get help from the MPs. The MPs gently shook their heads - "You know I sympathise with you. But I cannot do anything."
Later they just vanished into thin air. The big gun in the Johore state bureaucracy, the Mentri Besar, (then Dato' Othman Saat), refused to meet the squatters.
In Singapore, on Sept. 18, students from the University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic demonstrated outside the Malay- sian High Commission, demanding justice for the squatters.
The High Commissioner told the students that it was not the duty of his government to provide homes for every person, and that the squat- ters must go through the proper channels.
Support By The Masses At the camp site, the Special Branch tried all sorts of tricks to break the resistence of the squatters. They threatened the squatters and their supporters.
They directed some women officer from the Welfare Department to sneak into the camp to subvert their struggles. However, sweet talks and threats can never defeat a struggle supported by the broad masses.
The just struggle of the squatters was supported by the broad masses. They spread news for the squatters to pierce through the news blackout, and to correct distorted `news'.
They attended the squatters' nightly rallies, which drew thousands of sympathizers. They donated clothes, food, and money. Student bodies - like UMSU, PMUKM (National University of Malaysia Student Union), KSITM (Mara Institute of Technology Student Union), PMUSM (University Science Malaysia Student Union), University of Malaya Socialist Club, University of Malaya Chinese Language Society - issued repeated press statements categorically stating their unqualified support for the squatters. Students from Malaysia and Singapore collected various forms of donations from their fellow students.
Living together with them in the camps; the students helped to take care of infants and children, boil water, etc.. Even Utusan Malaysia had to admit (in an article attacking the students by Irhayati on Sept. 27) that the students really sympathised with the squatters.