Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (left) at Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan today. Pix by Muhd Zaaba Zakeria

PORT DICKSON: Despite having spent time behind bars, it has not deterred Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from keeping his dream to return to Parliament alive.

Moreover, Anwar said along the way, he befriended some of the prison staff during his incarceration.

"The lesson behind the story is this - you can kick me or strip me naked behind bars.

"But you can never control the sentiments of Malaysians. You sent me to jail, but the prison staff who took care of me, lent their support and campaigned for the party quietly.

"Their objective of throwing me behind bars was to have the prison staff hate me. But last week, 60 Sungai Buloh Prison staff came down here to support me during nomination day," Anwar said in his speech during a special gathering with Reformis Negri Sembilan at Padang Petanque, here, today.

Anwar said he was never angry at the prison staff, who were only carrying out their duties of looking after him.

"The staff were always there to lock the cell. They bring food in the morning and afternoon. It (the routine) was just so annoying. But I don't blame the prison staff for anything. They were just doing their job."

The Port Dickson by-election was called after incumbent Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah vacated the seat to make way for a by-election for Anwar to contest in.

Anwar is currently locked in a seven-cornered battle for Port Dickson, which contenders include former state menteri besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad and the PKR president-elect's former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, among others.

Polling is on Saturday.

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