Anwar Ibrahim, PKR candidate for Permatang Pauh, can stomach the personal attacks from top Umno leaders - he expected it. However the barrage of abuse from local Umno leaders, has made him quite distraught.
He said it was heartbreaking to know that certain local leaders - whom he regarded as friends - have abandoned their conscience and have chosen to batter him blue just for mere political gain.
"The local Umno leaders have forgotten that I was once their friend.
"They have sold their soul, lost their dignity and self-respect by attacking me merely to enhance their political interests," he told a rally at Permatang Tok Kandu in his by-election campaign trail - which saw yet another large crowd turnout and what is becoming common, police aerial surveillance.
Anwar recollected his days in office - when these now highly critical leaders were always trying to be close to him.
The days of being deputy prime minister, finance minister, Umno's national deputy president, Penang liaison committee chief and Permatang Pauh division chief before his sacking from government and party in 1998.
"Before 1998, these same people would follow me ever where, will shake hands with me and greet me with ‘Datuk Seri, Datuk Seri.
"They would be very possessive and protective over me, would not allow others to come near me.
"But today, they hitting me hard with all sorts of accusations," Anwar expressed.
In his speech, he took the opportunity to respond to statements from Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin, and according to Anwar was behaving like a hired ‘Umno samseng' (gangster) entering the by-election campaign late.
"He (Khairy) suddenly makes an ambush ala mafia here and starts attacking me, calling on me to swear on this and that.
"Who's he anyway? Ulama, imam or religious scholar?
"He is a mere ‘menantu' (son-in-law)," he said, chiding the Rembau Member of Parliament of trying to win the best samseng title in Umno Youth, in view of the wing's election late this year.
Anwar faces Seberang Jaya state assemblyperson Arif Shah Omar Shah from Barisan Nasional and Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) president Hanafi Hamat in a three-cornered by-election tussle.
Anwar is the firm favourite but he faces the onslaught of the BN and its ‘stop Anwar at all cost' campaign for the remaining four campaign days.
Polling is on Tuesday Aug 26.