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30-thousand rally for political reform in Malaysia

posted 12 Jan 2013, 05:03 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 12 Jan 2013, 05:03 ]

The Malaysian government faces challenges ahead of the national election as about 30,000 protesters call for political reform in an opposition-led anti-government rally.

KUALA LUMPURMALAYSIA (JANUARY 12, 2013) (REUTERS) - An estimated 30-thousand people took part in an anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday (January 12) to call to political reform and demand a change of government.

Deemed the 'People Uprising Rally', the massive protest was organised by the country's opposition.

Protesters gathered in eight points and marched to the iconic Independence Stadium.

The various partakers in the rally wore colour-coded clothes to represent their demands - those for electoral reform were in yellow, green for activists against Australian mining company Lynas, orange to express opposition to plantation giant Felda Global Venturesand red for those demanding 20 percent royalties for oil-producing states.

Protesters demanded transparency in the elections that must be held by June.

"The people should be the ones who decide the winner of the election, there should be no foul play. I am very disappointed by the statement of the election commission, they failed to explain why the fraud happened and gave no solutions to the problem. Up until now nothing has been explained," said protester Aishah Ramsah.

Indigenous people from the Temiar tribe, who fought against land confiscation, were among the protesters.

"The government took away our ancestral land. By right, they should give us property in return but we did not get anything. When we asked to get our land back the government said 'this is not your land, it belongs to the government'. So we have nothing now," saidPanjang Along.

Rally organiser and leader of the pan-Malaysia Islamic party Mohamad Sabu listed the reasons he was calling for a change of government.

"We must change the government. Number one is corruption issue in Malaysia is quite high, inflation issue, then the debt of this country. Only we left another two percent to survive, so it's very important for us to take over this government otherwise it's very possible to go to bankrupt," he said.

Saturday's rally was seen as a challenge for the 56-year ruling government ahead of a highly competitive national election.

The National Front coalition has governed Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957, but lost more than a third of its seats to a rising opposition in 2008 amid complaints of corruption.