New Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi faces the first real test of his democratic credentials today with supporters of jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim stepping up pressure for his release. They plan to embark on a series of mass rallies and cross-country convoys in what analysts say is an open challenge to Mr Abdullah's promise to tolerate dissent. Wan Azizah Ismail, Anwar's wife and president of the opposition National Justice Party, will lead the first convoy today. Public rallies are generally banned and any gathering of more then five people needs a police permit. The pro-Anwar organisers have not applied for the permits, saying that it would have been a futile exercise. It is unclear how Mr Abdullah will respond. He has vowed to curb abuse of power but has maintained restrictions on press freedom and public dissent since taking over from Mahathir Mohamad.