KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Students unions have today called for the government to heed their demands in addressing the rising costs of living, saying they will turn out for another public protest if they are not met.

International Islamic University of Malaysia student union president Aliff Naif Mohd Fizam that said students bear the responsibility of speaking up on issues affecting the public, such soaring prices of goods with the government allegedlu not offering any concrete solutions.

“The government will never understand how people suffer if they still living with high wages and have committees lead by the rich people,” he told a gathering of about 100 students in front of Pasar Seni here.

“If our demands are not met, this will not be the last time you see us here, this will not be the last time we come out to the streets,” he said, greeted by shouts of “Hidup mahasiswa!” (Malay for “long live students”) and cheers from the audience.

People gathering at the student unions’ speaker corner at Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur, July 2, 2022. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

The demands made by the 20 students groups and bodies include calls for the government to continue giving existing subsidies, control the prices of goods on campus, provide food security solutions, as well as cut the wages of both ministers and deputy ministers for the Malaysians’ benefit.

They also called for subsidies and aid to be given with “dignity” — at a minimum level that would allow B40 and M40 households to comfortably live.

Another student representative, Amirul Amin from Angkatan Mahasiswa highlighted that not even the cost of living, but the cost of death is also purportedly on the rise.

“We are now in the time of hard living and even when in death the cost gets more expensive.

“The cost to manage death has increased to more than RM2,000 for Muslims and even more for non-Muslims,” he said.

In the peaceful demonstration named Speaker’s Corner today, the students were represented by seven individuals, highlighting the plight of the public and students who they said are affected by some removal of subsidies, rising cost of goods, as well as inflation.

People holding placards at the student unions’ speaker corner at Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur, July 2, 2022. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

About 50 police officers were stationed in the area and allowed the event to continue with monitoring. The event ended at around 4.50pm with no arrest.

On July 21, the IIUM and University of malaya student unions announced that they are demanding that the government lower food prices.

They criticised the government’s decision to discontinue the subsidy for bottled cooking oil which they said was made without taking into consideration the rakyat’s circumstances.