901Posted: January 9, 2012
It really would be quite anti-climactic to write on anything other than the 901 gathering this morning, considering the kind of attention that it has managed to gather since about a week ago.
To be quite honest, I’d already given up on this case a long time ago. When Sodomy II first made the headlines, it was like 1998 again for many. It was deja vu, it was like the ‘people in power’ could no longer come up with newer, fresher ideas. For me, it was a ridiculous case, simply because it seemed, and is, a trivial matter if compared to the problems we’re facing in our education system, our deficit-budget and other such large-scaled issues. An opposition leader’s sexual preferences and practices just didn’t seem quite so important.
But still, perhaps there is some reason to why this issue was blown into such huge proportions. It has ties to whether our police force is impartial when it comes to arresting/detaining suspects and how fair they are when dealing with all those involved in the case. It has ties to whether the politics in our country is really so bankrupt that one has to resort to cheap personal attacks to bring down the other side. It has ties to whether the judiciary is independent enough to handle a case that has such high-profile personalities.
With all these issues involved in one man’s case, it is hardly surprising that come the day when a judgement would finally be made, it would be sensational. This morning was the morning when the courts were to decide whether the prosecution had any case against Anwar. If he was to be announced guilty, the opposition would have found themselves lacking one leader figure. If he was pronounced innocent, would this have meant that the opposition won this battle?
So when there was a call for a support rally at the courthouse, it came without much surprise. It is only natural that such a high-profile case would attract such a reaction. The Sodomy II trial had gone on for far too long. It was time that it ended. And Anwar’s supporters wanted to be there to see it, no matter what the result.
The build-up to this 901 gathering was, surprisingly, quite low-key. Anwar supporters didn’t make a helluva noise about coming all out to support their leader, nor did PKR members spread banners and emails and Facebook messages. Instead, what made the gathering gain publicity was through what the government did and said themselves.
Hishammuddin, Home Minister, had last week said that Pakatan Rakyat had to “guarantee” that the 901 gathering would be a peaceful one, and that it would not turn chaotic. This statement I found rather out-of-place, and a little funny. The ones who are given the task to “guarantee” that the rally remains peaceful should be his boys in blue, the police. It is after all their duty to maintain public peace.
What’s even funnier is the heavy police presence at the gathering this morning. A little sidetrack story: a friend of mine involved in filming had intended to invite some 20 policemen to their shooting today, as they had a scene involving the police. They were told that no one from the police force was free, as all of them were ordered to be on standby for the 901 gathering. And this is as far as Klang.
All in all, though, the case ended without much fanfare. Anwar was acquitted as the prosecution could not prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that Anwar was guilty. There were 3 small explosions outside of the courthouse after the verdict was announced. The gathering dispersed without much hoo-hah. Sodomy II ended in a completely different manner from Sodomy I.
Whether or not this shows that the police are impartial, or whether our politics is bankrupt, or whether our judiciary is independent is really up to our own interpretation. But for now, Sodomy II is over. Let’s hope it stays over.