MALAYSIA'S opposition chief Anwar Ibrahim has said he has an alibi for "every minute" of the day on which he is accused of having sexually assaulted a former male aide.
He told the BBC that "we are clear, absolutely clear on the alibi, every single minute of the day".
And with that declaration of confidence, he toured Malaysia over the weekend in a bid to revive his hopes of seizing power despite the sodomy allegations.
Dressed in his trademark blue batik shirt, he travelled to the government-held states of Malacca, Pahang and Johor to regain momentum after last week's explosive events, when he spent a night in police custody over accusations levelled by a 23-year-old male aide.
"I tell you now that I will be contesting in a by-election," he told a crowd of over 5,000 in Jasin, near Malacca, to cries of "God is great".
A return to Parliament would be the next step in Datuk Seri Anwar's political comeback. He was sacked as deputy premier in 1998 and jailed on sodomy and corruption charges.
The sex conviction was overturned, but the corruption count barred him from public office until April.
The Pakatan Rakyat alliance, under his leadership, made historic gains in the March polls, leaving it just 30 seats short of ousting the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.
Mr Anwar's latest crisis, which he says has been fabricated by the government, has been a distraction from his plan to take power with the help of defecting coalition lawmakers.
But he told the crowds on his post-arrest roadshow that he was making progress nevertheless.
"I will shortly be ready to announce four BN MPs who will join the Pakatan Rakyat. It will happen very soon," he said.
Mr Anwar was arrested last Wednesday and released on police bail until Aug 18.
He has refused to give a DNA sample, even though the police said they were willing to let him choose his own forensic expert to take his sample.
There have been calls that international experts be included in the investigations.
Meanwhile, Mr Anwar had said that he had been stripped naked and his private parts examined last week.
But the director of Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Dr Zaininah Mohd Zain, has come out to say that Mr Anwar was never asked to strip.
The government has also said that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail would not be involved in the case.
This was because Mr Anwar had earlier lodged a police report against them, saying they had fabricated evidence against him during his earlier trial.
- AFP, THE STAR/ANN
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