Photo by Creative Commons Licence.
Bersih 3.0 held in 2012. Photo by Creative Commons Licence.

The movement for clean and fair elections have been going on strong since its first rally back in 2007. Thousands of people have come out in the past years to join the rally in Kuala Lumpur and various other locations globally, many dressed in yellow as a symbol of protest.

Here are a few things you should know as Bersih 4.0 approaches in a few days.

How is this year’s Bersih 4.0 different than Bersih 2.0 and 3.0?

Unlike the previous years where the rally was only held for a day, Bersih 4.0 is an overnight rally (29 and 30 August) in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu simultaneously. On top of demanding Prime Minister Najib’s resignation, the coalition are also rallying to press for four demands: clean elections, clean government, the right to protest and saving Malaysia’s economy.

Where will the rallies take place?

Before the march towards Dataran Merdeka, five locations have been set as meeting points by Bersih 2.0’s chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah: Sogo, Pasar Seni KL, Dataran Maybank, Brickfields and Masjid Negara.

In East Malaysia, the rallies will be held at Padang Merdeka in Kuching and Tanjung Lipat in Kota Kinabalu. However, there will be no marching held here as people are only expected to assemble for the rally.

Is the rally illegal?

The police have declared the rally illegal, because they claim the organisers did not provide a detailed plan of the rally. However, PKR’s Latheefa Koya has said the rally is not illegal because there is no breach of the Peaceful Assembly Act of 2012.

What should I bring?

1) It is possible that tear gas will be fired. Bring sunglasses or goggles for your eye protection and a damp cloth to cover your mouth and nose. A small packet of salt will also help to neutralise the effects.

2) Bring your medications or medical aid equipment that you might need at the rally (for example, inhalers). Be especially careful if you have a preexisting heart disease.

3) It is also very important to bring your I/C in case you get stopped by the police. Besides that, bring just enough cash to last you for the two-day rally so you would not have to carry your wallet with you.

4) In order to combat the heat and fatigue that you will face, don’t forget to prepare at least a bottle of water for the rally. Aside from plain water, it is also recommended to bring isotonic drinks as they will restore energy in your body and avoid dehydration.

5) Since it is an overnight rally that begins from 2pm on the 29 August (Saturday) all the way until 11:59pm on 30 August (Sunday), do not forget to bring sleeping bags or foldable chairs if you plan to stay overnight.

What happens if I get arrested?

1) Remember your legal rights. If you are questioned by the police at the rally, you are actually only obliged to give your name, I/C number and address. You are not obliged to answer any further questions, but if he/she persists, you could ask if you are under arrest.

2) If the answer is no, you may refuse to follow them to the station if they ask you to. However, if the answer is yes, you should ask which station will they be taking you to, because they should only take you to the nearest station instead of any others. Besides that, remember to ask why you are under arrest, because an arrest without an informed reason is unlawful.

3) The moment you arrive at the station, you have the right to call two people: A relative or a friend, as well as a lawyer for legal assistance. If the police questions you at the station, remember that you actually have the right to remain silent. The duration of detention can only go up to 24 hours, as further detention can only be done by the Magistrate under a remand order.

For more information on your legal rights, visit The Malaysian Bar’s website and download the legal rights handbook. For additional sources, check out this guide at

What phone numbers do I need?

Be sure to keep the numbers of Legal Aid Centres (LAC) so you could call them should you end up in this situation. In the event of an arrest, you can call 018-321-1506 or 011-1214-0877 for help. Provide details such as name, MyKad number, telephone number and the police station where you are held.

Aside from Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM), what other bodies will be present at the rallies to provide assistance?

Since a much larger turnout is expected for this year’s rallies, possibly exceeding tens of thousands Malaysians who had participated in Bersih 3.0 in 2012, new party Gerakan Harapan Baru has stepped forward to provide volunteers to help with crowd control. The volunteer corp, called Amal Relief (ARiF), can be spotted in orange t-shirts with black sleeves, according to Johari Osman, head of ARiF Malaysia. Besides that, Bersih 2.0 is also mobilizing 2,000 volunteers to ensure security and manage the crowd.

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) will also be present to monitor the conduct of both the participants as well as the authorities during the rally.

For more information, read Bersih 4.0’s FAQs here

Dhabitah Zainal

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