Thousands in New Year protests in Malaysia

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Malaysia protestsThousands of demonstrators clad in black gathered at a square in the center of Kuala Lumpur  on New Year’s Eve to protest increases in petrol and other prices, putting pressure on a government struggling to reduce debt, local media reported.

Demonstrators rallied at Kuala Lumpur’s Independence Square in defiance of police warnings not to rally and caused a New Year Eve’s performance held there by the city to be cut short. The protest ended peacefully after midnight. Organisers said some 15,000 people attended the rally, while police put the number at 5,000.

Wearing black T-shirts and Guy Fawkes masks – a symbol of anti-establishment defiance worldwide – the protestors carried posters that read “Drop prices” and “Defending our rights” and chanted “Long live the people”.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition won the May 2013 elections with its worst showing yet in its 55-year rule, has been struggling to reduce the debt of Southeast Asia’s third largest economy.

In his New Year message, Najib said cutting subsidies of essentials, such as petrol and sugar, which cost the government billions of dollars, and raising other prices were “necessary”.

Petrol prices rose 10.5 per cent when the government cut fuel subsidies for the first time since 2010 in September, while electricity tariffs have been increased by some 15 per cent. In 015, a new Goods and Services Tax of 6 per cent will be introduced.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Thousands of demonstrators clad in black gathered at a square in the center of Kuala Lumpur  on New Year’s Eve to protest increases in petrol and other prices, putting pressure on a government struggling to reduce debt, local media reported.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Malaysia protestsThousands of demonstrators clad in black gathered at a square in the center of Kuala Lumpur  on New Year’s Eve to protest increases in petrol and other prices, putting pressure on a government struggling to reduce debt, local media reported.

Demonstrators rallied at Kuala Lumpur’s Independence Square in defiance of police warnings not to rally and caused a New Year Eve’s performance held there by the city to be cut short. The protest ended peacefully after midnight. Organisers said some 15,000 people attended the rally, while police put the number at 5,000.

Wearing black T-shirts and Guy Fawkes masks – a symbol of anti-establishment defiance worldwide – the protestors carried posters that read “Drop prices” and “Defending our rights” and chanted “Long live the people”.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition won the May 2013 elections with its worst showing yet in its 55-year rule, has been struggling to reduce the debt of Southeast Asia’s third largest economy.

In his New Year message, Najib said cutting subsidies of essentials, such as petrol and sugar, which cost the government billions of dollars, and raising other prices were “necessary”.

Petrol prices rose 10.5 per cent when the government cut fuel subsidies for the first time since 2010 in September, while electricity tariffs have been increased by some 15 per cent. In 015, a new Goods and Services Tax of 6 per cent will be introduced.

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