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Salient. Victoria University Students Newspaper. Volume 38 Number 8. 1975

Peasants' Demonstrations and Their Demands

Peasants' Demonstrations and Their Demands

The explosion came in Mid-November 1974 in the Baling District. Most of the people in Baling are rubber-tappers. While they hear the authorities bragging about prosperity, the rubber price plunged to 25c-30c a catty. During this rainy season when they cannot work the Baling people are literally at the brink of starving, surviving on tapioca leaves and roots and eating a meal a day. Such living conditions had already claimed three lives in Tanjung Pari. When petitions to the authorities could not draw any sympathy from the authorities, the Baling people are left with the alternative of mass demonstrations. The starving people held a hunger march to protest against the authorities irresponsibility and to demand for their fundamental rights to live.

  • On 19-11-74: About 1,000 people from Kg Weng and Kg Bonger demonstrated peacefully but armed FRUS violently despersed them with tear gas.
  • 20-11-74: More than 1,000 people from Parit Kanai and Parit Panjang held a peaceful demonstration.
  • 21-11-74: About 13,000 hungry people, old folks, children, women, the sick, from Baling district, some as far as 12 miles away, held a hunger march march in Baling. The march spread over a distance of six miles. About another 5,000 gathered in kampongs around Baling but were prevented from participating in Baling by police and the security officers. The Kedah state Chief Minister was forced to meet the people and promised them a solution in ten days time.
  • 1-12-74: About 25,000 people again gathered in Baling.