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MALAYSIAN PM REASSERTS COMMAND WITH NATIONAL DAY CELEBRATIONS

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KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's government reclaimed the streets of the capital Monday after massive weekend protests demanding the premier's ouster, staging its own show of force with colorful National Day celebrations attended by thousands.
With Prime Minister Najib Razak presiding, the government held a parade attended by large crowds of flag-waving spectators in scenes broadcast live, symbolizing what reform advocates and analysts admit will be an uphill task affecting change in the government.
Organizers of the weekend demonstrations said more than 200,000 people attended the rallies staged to demand Najib's removal over a financial scandal.
  • But the weekend rallies and Mahathir's support are not seen as causing serious unease for Najib, who retains firm control of his powerful ruling party.
  • His government in turn enjoys continued solid support among the country's majority ethnic Malay population.
  • "The rallies showed (civil society and the opposition) can turn out the numbers, but whether actions like this can really make a difference is unclear," said Ibrahim Suffian, head of leading Malaysian polling firm Merdeka Centre.
Najib can rest easy because the only way anyone could remove him is through parliament or the ruling party. 
In a speech Sunday night, Najib defiantly refused to step down and called the protesters "shallow-minded".
Rally participants in Kuala Lumpur seemed drawn mostly from the country's ethnic Chinese minority, which  makes  up about a 
quarter of the population.

Source: Asia One
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