I refer to the letter Police reform - what are the changes made? After reading (or misreading) that, I gathered enough confidence to attend a PAS political ceramah recently at Taman Permata, Ulu Klang, Selangor.
With the mention 'that police have acknowledged their failings in the reformasi years' and also knowing that the next general election was still a long way of, I hoped for a peaceful evening to hear out the other side.
I reached the place at 8.20pm and realised that the rally was to start only at 9.30pm. However, there was already one police car and I was there just in time to see the arrival of five more police officers on motorcycles.
Other than about 25 PAS volunteers in the vicinity, the crowd had not yet arrived. I decided to come back later and took the opportunity to park my car about one kilometre away for easier escape in case of any eventualities.
When I came back at 9.30pm the crowd had swelled to about 600 people and were still trickling in. The police numbered about 35 including about 15 Special Branch men who made their presence felt.
At about 10pm, when the first speaker Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man took to the mike, I estimated the crowd to be between 3,000 to 3,300. They were generally calm and sat or stood along the road curbs in front of the PAS office. There was definitely nothing unruly except for the occasional shouts of 'Allahu Akbar' at the end of an announcement or speech.
But the police, mind you, tried to instigate the crowd by tactics such as reducing the amplifier volume a few times until even the people just across the road could not hear. The conical speakers were turned to face the PAS office which is an end lot of a house. The crowd were then asked to enter the compound of the house even when the house was already full.
So it would seem that even after the so-called 'police reform' the police are still very arrogant, intimidating and even instigative. It was obvious that they were zealously acting on the orders of the powers-that-be.
Even so, their show of force that night was definitely unnecessary neither was the bringing in of extra reinforcements and all the other needless displays and commotion.
Though the police objective was to intimidate the crowd, I guessed the crowd expected all their pranks anyway and were very cool. I bet the crowd came away probably believing stronger in their cause thanks to the police.