In the highly charged atmosphere of the packed courtroom, Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, his team of lawyers, family and friends, waited expectantly as High Court judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah faced the hushed crowd, before his eyes skimmed over the page in front of him and stopped when he reached the critical part.
The time was 9.21 a.m. and it took all of 90 seconds for Zabidin to deliver the verdict. He told the crowd that doubt has been cast on the reliability of the DNA evidence and that the court cleared Anwar Ibrahim of the charge of sodomy.
After three tortuous years, Anwar was finally acquitted.
The stunned silence was in stark contrast to the scenes of euphoria which erupted once the verdict had registered in the minds of the people in the courtroom. Minutes later, a tearful Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail hugged her husband, Anwar.
Zabidin said the court could not '100 percent accept the DNA evidence' and that it 'could not exclude the possibility of the samples being compromised.'
In the carpark, around 7,000 of Anwar's supporters, cheered and offered prayers of thanksgiving, upon hearing of the acquittal.
One person who was present in court said that Anwar's family was overcome with emotion and relief. Many people, including some of the lawyers on Anwar's team, had feared the worst.
But the observer added, "Despite the verdict today, Anwar's acquittal is not a cause for celebration. How can we celebrate when all of Malaysia needs saving?
"How can we celebrate when we know that this trial should never have happened? We have wasted valuable resources with Sodomy II. If the judiciary had been independent, we would not be here today. This trial has been a distraction and pitted many people against each other.
"We wasted time arguing the merits of this case, of conspiracy theories and political plots, when it is more important to improve the lives of the rakyat, tackle corruption, or revive the economy."
Little did this person realise that later that day, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak would declare that the judiciary was independent of government and that Anwar's acquittal had exonerated the political conspiracy claims which Anwar had charged the BN administration with.
Najib said, "Today's verdict shows once again that, despite what many have claimed, the Malaysian judiciary is an independent institution where neither politics nor politicians have any influence over the dispensation of justice."
Nevertheless, sentiments were running high in the carpark outside court where another person said, "We are relieved that Anwar remains free. Justice has been served but what about the others - Kugan, Aminulrasyid, Ahmad Sarbani, Teoh Beng Hock? Will they receive justice? Now, the real work begins. We must move forwards. Malaysia needs to move on."
A law student from Taiping echoed, "Don't forget we have the Scorpene trial in France. What about Altantuya's father? Will his family get closure?"
Anwar has previously been tried on another sodomy charge (Sodomy I) in 1998, when he fell out with Prime minister, Mahathir Mohamed. Anwar who was deputy PM then, was jailed when his corruption charges were upheld by the courts but his sodomy charge was subsequently quashed by the Supreme Court in 2004.
Since his release in 2004, Anwar has mobilised the various opposition factions and formed, for the first time in Malaysia's political history, a formidable opposition coalition fighting from a multiracial platform.
Three months after the unprecedented success of the opposition in GE-12, in March 2008, when they won over five states, Anwar found himself facing another sodomy charge by a man who claimed to be his political aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Had he been found guilty, the opposition leader would have faced 20 years in jail, with no prospect of a return to political life. Because of his age, he would be spared a whipping.
Various Umno/BN MPs have opined that Anwar's acquittal will cause Najib's popularity to rise because Najib had no influence over the courts. Others disagree, arguing that the fence-sitters in the electorate would swing towards the opposition because Anwar had been proven innocent.
One political pundit said, "Najib is politically expedient and did not wish to lose more ground to Pakatan. With the acquittal, Najib restores his credibility, is seen as compassionate, a moderate and one who delivers on his promises of reform."
Others weren't so confident and said, "What is clear is that Anwar is free to lead us into GE-13. We must concentrate on policies and focus on winning the hearts and minds of the voters."
An ex-Umno voter said, "All I feel is relief. Relief that the horrors suffered by Anwar's family are over. Relief that Anwar can concentrate on his job as opposition leader. Relief that the judge saw fit to deliver his verdict. Today, many Malaysians can raise their heads up high again.
"Mixed with relief is anger. I am angry that we wasted time. Angry, that someone should accuse another person of a heinous crime. It will be awhile till the gravity of this acquittal sinks in. One question remains to be answered. Why did Saiful do it?"
The sodomy II trial has brought into sharp focus the deep divisions in our society regarding corruption, governance, the rule of law and the dispensing of justice.
Apart from the three explosions after the verdict was announced, there had been no violent clashes and no other untoward incidents. It is regrettable that the large police presence was unable to detect the explosives devices, two of which were under police traffic cones, and one in a rubbish bin.
What this gathering also serves to prove, is that people who assemble to support another person or cause, can do so peacefully. At the end of the day, what was a victory for Anwar can also be translated into a victory for the Malaysian rakyat.
Without their support and commitment, Anwar might not have been freed. After 901, it is up to the rakyat to determine the future of the country.