Student activists have set up a protest camp right at the eaves of Kajang prison, in support of jailed compatriot Umar Mohd Azmi who received his sentence yesterday.

Umar (below), a participant of the 'Occupy Dataran' protest camp last April, received a month's jail and RM1,000 fine for obstructing  a public official from performing his duty by the court.

NONEHis appeal against conviction and imprisonment will be heard on Monday at the Kuala Lumpur court.

The student's campsite at the main entrance to the detention facility is under the watchful eyes of prison security unit (UKP) personnel though they made no overt moves to interfere.

The students, about 50 of them, mainly from Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) started gathering outside the main gates of Kalang Prison at 8pm yesterday.

Last night, students leaders from activist group Solidarity Anak Muda (Sam) and representative from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) addressed the protestors and popular Gerak Khas actress Abby Abadi also made an appearance.
They were joined by about 50 locals who came to show support swelling their numbers.

The protestors then set up their four tents along the road leading to the prison with around 15 of them spending the night there.

 Music to accompany protest

Malaysiakini visited the protest camp this morning to find about ten of them still at the site as some of had gone home to freshen up for the morning.
Kajang student campThe students sat around singing protest songs to the strumming of a guitar that someone had brought along.

A spokesperson for the group said that they are there for the long haul, though a decision has not yet been made via consensus whether they will mount their protest for the entire month that Umar is in prison.

He also said that they were approached at about 8.45 this morning by two Special Branch officers who took down the particulars of two among them, but did not take any other action.

An MPKJ enforcement officer also dropped by at about 9.30am asking them if they had any permission to camp outside the prison.

NONEHowever, after intervention from PSM representatives the enforcement officer said that they will not interfere as long as the students do not block traffic and obstruct passers-by.

The officer said that they leave it to cops to monitor and does not see any issues with the protest camp as yet.

Malaysiakini observed several plainclothes police officers monitoring the students while the prison officers watch from their roadside security checkpoint and at the main entrance.

At about 11.10am MPKJ councillor Lee Kee Hiong stopped by to show moral support.

Political cartoonist Zunar and several local DAP leaders also stopped by to show moral support.

The cartoonist then contributed his talent to the protest by drawing a banner depicting Umar in a cell for use by the protestors.

Others who came also brought along food as well as cans and bottles of isotonic drinks as the students maintained their protest camp under the burning Kajang sun.

NONEA short spate of light rain failed to dampen their spirits.

At about noon, Umar's family who visited him this morning stopped by to pass on Umar's message to the students at the protest camp.

"Dunia belum kiamat, berjuang sampai tamat. (The world has not ended yet, fight till the end," said his father, who said Umar's fighting spirit is untouched by his ordeal.

He described his son to be in good health and good spirits who joked that his one-month imprisonment is training for him to quit smoking.

Students to occupy Dataran again

A final-year diploma student in industrial safety at a private college in Klang, Umar was undergoing practical training in Johor Bahru, which he was supposed to complete next month.

His father described to the students protestors that Umar is in isolation away from the general prison population, kept alone in his cell, but was heartened by the news that his friends are out there for him.

NONEAt a press conference at 2pm, SMM chairperson Safwan Anang told reporters that they are here to share at least some of Umar's hardship.

"As we all were at Occupy Dataran to fight for free education but only he was arrested and imprisoned. We want to be here with him."

Safwan said that they will move from their vigil in front of the Kajang Prison to Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow morning.

There they will camp out at the iconic square, though if DBKL were to forbid an encampment they will still gather at the public space, Safwan stressed.

He added that their move to Kuala Lumpur was also to make it easier for them to attend Umar's appeal on Monday.-malaysiakini