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Sunday, Sept 13
Sacked deputy PM continues to tell his side of sex allegations

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Unfazed by warnings against public rallies, Malaysia's sacked deputy prime minister resumed his political roadshow Sunday to tell his side of an alleged sex scandal.

Anwar Ibrahim drove south to the state of Malacca Sunday for an evening rally after drawing a massive crowd of more than 30,000 people the night before in northern Malaysia.

It was the largest show of support yet for the ousted minister, causing sprawling traffic jams that forced thousands to walk several kilometers (miles) to hear Anwar's speech near the rural town of Jitra, the birthplace and power base of his nemesis, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

''This shows that the people cannot be easily deceived,'' Anwar told reporters following his speech, which ended after midnight. ''They're convinced there's a conspiracy at the highest level.''

Mahathir fired Anwar as his deputy and finance minister Sept. 2 on allegations of sexual misconduct. But the leader has not explained the sacking, saying only that Anwar was ''unsuitable'' for government and dismissed on ''moral'' grounds.

Anwar has vehemently denied the allegations, which also include leaking state secrets, and blamed his ouster on a high-level political plot to stem his growing popularity. He is under police investigation on eight criminal charges and could face arrest.

Mahathir warned Saturday that he was ready to ''take action'' if Anwar's campaign disrupted public order. He did not say what that action might be.

Political rallies in Malaysia are illegal without police permits. An Anwar aide said a permit had been obtained from police for Saturday night's speech.

Until Friday, Anwar had remained holed up in his home in the capital Kuala Lumpur, where he gave nightly speeches to crowds of more than 6,000 people.

Many said they attended the rallies to hear Anwar's side of the story, which has received minimal coverage in the government-controlled local media.

Earlier Saturday, Anwar was mobbed by some 5,000 supporters who flooded his rural hometown Cherok Tok Kun, in the northwestern state of Penang, where he launched his nationwide political reform campaign that calls for more political freedoms and greater transparency in government.

The weekend's speeches were Anwar's first outside the capital, Kuala Lumpur, since his ouster.

Before leaving the capital on Friday, Anwar attended prayers at a mosque, where 10,000 supporters gathered to cheer him on.