There were no reported scuffles in Dataram Merdeka today but city authorities continued to pressure the students to vacant the public area.
PETALING JAYA: City authorities continue to pressure student protesters to vacate their camp site at Dataran Merdeka.
Although there was no scuffle, Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) officers came around the camp site this morning and told the students to dismantle the camps.
“They told us to remove the camps but we stayed put. But there was no scuffle like yesterday,” undergraduate Haziq Abdul Aziz told FMT.
Another activist from the “Occupy” (Dataran Merdeka) movement, Fahmi Reza said that there were around 13 tents that were set up this morning.
“They told us this morning that according to the bylaw, we cannot put up tents without the consent of the city mayor.
“They gave us five minutes to dismantle and they left. They later came back in their truck, parked by the side of the road and just stayed there.
“We thought they were going to haul us up but they didn’t do so,” he told FMT when contacted.
He added that many parties including ordinary Malaysians have been contributing to their cause by donating a steady stream of food, drinks and tents since Saturday. Students ‘right’ to rally
Tempers flared yesterday between DBKL officers and the students protesters when the latter defied orders to leave.
Punches were thrown and one undergraduate suffered a minor gash behind his neck.
It is learnt that the KL mayor, Ahmad Fuad Ismail, has yet to reply to the student’s request to carry on with the protest at Dataran Merdeka. He could not be reached for comments.
These students have been camping at the Datararan since Saturday following a rally where 300 undergraduates marched into the city centre demanding free tertiary education and for the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan scheme to be abolished.
The student protesters initially said that they would occupy Dataran Merdeka until either Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak or his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin met them.
However after a “disappointing” response from the premier to this request, the students have now vowed to stay on until April 28 to converge with the sit-in protest of electoral watchdog Bersih 3.0, also scheduled to take place at the same venue.
Responding to the student protest, Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin did not mince his words when he challenged these students to return the loan money currently used to fund their education.
His deputy, Saifuddin Abdullah, however, told FMT that he backed the student’s right to rally for an issue that was “close to their hearts”.