Going For Bersih 4.0? Here’s One Apps You Must Install

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Aug 21 2015
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Are you ready for Bersih 4.0? Or should we ask if you’re going for the Bersih 4.0 (although I’m not sure why Johor has been left out)? Regardless whether this round will be a huge success, or flop miserably big time, the fact remains that Bersih was a huge success, based on how its past three rallies had successfully shifted the political landscape in Malaysia.

Nazri Aziz Showing Sexual Finger Gesture

The opposition parties had tried for 40-years – without success – in denying incumbent Barisan Nasional (National Front) its two-thirds majority. The last time opposition managed to do that was in 1969, which sadly ended with bloody racial riots. Ever since 1969, it didn’t appear possible to deny the arrogant BN of its customary two-thirds majority, until 2008.


Formed in 2006, Bersih 1.0 (2007), 2.0 (2011) and 3.0 (2012) rallies were instrumental in cutting away votes from BN, not only in denying the giant its traditional two-thirds majority in both 2008 and 2013 general elections, but also in reducing it from getting the popular votes. Technically, BN is now a minority government who enjoys only 47% of popular votes.

Bersih Demonstrators

Bersih 4.0 is about a week away and already it is facing multiple problems. As usual, the police and the city hall have been under instructions from Najib administration to deny the Bersih organiser of every single request to jeopardize the rally. But that is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is to get the number.


It can be considered a huge success if it can mobilize 100,000 people. However, if Bersih 4.0 Facebook page’s “Likes” is any indicator, the number is a disappointment. PAS, which can mobilize its members in great number like walking zombies, is not participating this time. Like it or not, the present leadership of Maria Chin is nowhere near iron lady Ambiga.

Berish 4.0 Locations - Global Bersih

Going by the logic, Bersih 4.0 should be the “Mother of Bersih Rallies”. The glaring tainted PM Najib Razak who’s involved in 1MDB RM42 billion debt and RM2.62 billion donation money needs to be “Bersih-ed”. Both scandals are like sitting duck for unhappy Malaysians to take to the street to voice their anger, frustration and release their “steam”.


Nevertheless, past experiences have taught us that BN government will do anything to frustrate the demonstrators, from unleashing thugs to jamming telecommunication services. So, how do you go about establishing communication when service providers Maxis, Celcom and DIGI execute government orders by disrupting voice and data communications?

Berish Rally Jammer

Enter “FireChat” apps, which will come in handy in case Najib administration decided to shut down phone connections. It was used with huge success during Hong Kong “Occupy Central” demonstration. When 17-year-old Joshua Wong appealed fellow protestors to download it, the app saw 100,000 new installations within the first 22-hours.


FireChat is available for both iPhone iOS and Android phones. This is a must have apps because it allows you to communicate to nearby iOS or Android devices “WITHOUT” internet or cell phone coverage. Instead, FireChat relies on “Bluetooth” to establish communication channel. It works as if you’re shouting in a supermarket.

Bersih 4.0 - Baby Face Yes To Rally - FireChat Inset

So, in the event of government-imposed data blackouts, Bersih 4.0 demonstrators can rely on FireChat to receive any updates from the coordinator or from fellow protestors nearby. But FireChat is an open social app and not suited for sharing secrets. So, when you first launched the app, register with nickname, not real name. 


However, FireChat is not “perfect” and still “buggy”, let alone secure. Sometimes, you couldn’t receive message sent by a person next to you. That’s because it uses the “Mesh” networking approach where it’s as strong as the weakest node. If one fails and there are too few phones in the area to pick up the slack, then the network falls apart.

User Using FireChat

Still, it’s better than no communication at all, right? The trick is you must login before switching into “offline” mode. And you must keep the “Bluetooth” and “WIFI” turned on, although obviously there won’t be any WIFI available at the Bersih 4.0 rally. So, go install and start testing it with your fellow Bersih rally friends before the big day.


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Dear friends,

Firechat is a great client for network-less communication but we recommend a SECURE communications platform. SAFECHATS (chat,voice,files transfers). It uses military grade PGP/OTR and its bulletproof end-to-end so no one can intercept communications, no data is stored on the servers so even SAFECHATS itself doesnt have the messages, not even in an office raid.

Using an offline client like Firechat will enable communications during network downage but it is not secure and certainly not private. Safechats can be used for FREE (android/ios) and the product is a finalist for the RSA conference APJ 2015 (just last month)

For the tech inclined:

SAFECHATS uses certificate pinning. What it means in plain English is the app checks the credentials of the server before fully establishing a connection and transferring any data. It means that ISPs cannot do MiTM attack (man in the middle) trying to pretend to be SafeChats and spy on traffic passing by. The app won’t connect to “their” server. Even if they trick the use into installing their server certificate so the system will think the server is legit. The real certificate is embedded into the app and cannot be changed.

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