A Complete List Of Things You Need To Know If You're Going To Bersih 4.0

Whether you're a first-timer or a veteran Bersih rally participant, here's everything you need to know about preparing for the rally and what to do when faced with certain situations during the rally.

Cover image via The Rocket

So, you're planning on joining the Bersih 4 rally this weekend. First-timers, if you're at a loss as to how you can adequately prepare for the potentially intense experience, we've got you covered.

The following pointers could serve as a refresher checklist for veteran participants too, as this is the first time the Bersih rally is expected to last for 2 days (29 and 30 August).


1. First, let's talk about what you should wear to the rally. The key is to be comfortable, so make sure you are clad in clothing that allows for easy movement in any situation such as:

To be safe, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect most of your skin from tear gas chemicals.

To really get into the spirit of Bersih, opt for yellow-coloured T-shirts or the official Bersih 4 T-shirt if you can get your hands on them. Last we heard, they're almost sold out!

2. Stay away from flowy clothing, dresses, skirts, or sarongs as well as slippers and high heels, as they may hinder your movement and prevent you from running in case of confrontational situations

3. Avoid wearing contact lenses. Opt for glasses instead.

Image via BBC

Based on what happened in the previous Bersih rallies, it is highly likely that tear gas will be deployed to force participants to disperse. These chemicals may react to contaminate contact lenses and result in severe eye infections.

4. If you're planning to stay overnight, make sure you bring your sleeping bags or foldable chairs. However, note that the DBKL has outlawed tents from being pitched in the streets of KL during the rally.

Image via Jaka Vinsek

5. Pack these 10 essential items in a bag, preferably a waist pouch or a backpack so that you have less loose items to worry about. Handbags and purses can easily be lost if things get a little chaotic.

(a) Identity card, MyKad, or driving license for official identification if you happen to stopped by the police.

(b) Enough cash to last you for 2 days, about RM100 to RM200 should suffice. Stuff them in your front pockets and seal with a safety pin or keep them in a waist pouch for safekeeping. Wallets as well as ATM and debit/credit cards should be left at home as they can get easily lost, especially to pickpocketers.

(c) Fully-charged (smart)phone and powerbank, for emergency purposes as well as to post current developments on social media.

(d) At least one bottle of mineral water or isotonic drink to keep you hydrated and some light snacks for when you get peckish.

Image via

(e) Personal medical necessities such as inhalers, diabetic pills, insulin jabs, Panadol etc. Seeking medical attention is going to be quite difficult in a crowd of thousands, so bring some extra to share with others.

(f) Tight-fitting swim goggles and a mask (respirator or surgical) as protection against chemicals in the tear gas. If you do not own a pair of such goggles, attach some cling wrap to your glasses, sunglasses or any type of safety eyewear, as pictured below:

(g) Small packets of salt, preferably the granulated ones, to neutralise the effects of tear gas when taken orally.

(h) Wet wipes and/or a damp cloth or towel soaked in salt water, saline solution, lemon juice, or cider vinegar stored in a plastic bag to wipe your skin and breathe through if you are exposed to any chemicals or tear gas.

(i) Umbrellas, ponchos, raincoats, and/or caps to protect you from the sun and rain as well as tear gas, pepper spray, and water cannons.

(j) Pre-mixed solution of Gaviscon / Antacid with water in spray bottle to clear your head after being hit by tear gas.


(a) Camera or video camera, kept in a plastic bag to minimise water damage.

(b) An extra T-shirt packed in a plastic bag to change into after the rally.

(c) Bersih-themed placards or banners.

(d) Malaysian flags of any size.

6. If you considered bringing any of these items along with you, you might want to leave them at home:

Image via AM Technology

(a) Student card, work pass or ID, debit/credit cards, and miscellaneous membership cards to avoid revealing too much about yourself if you are stopped by the authorities.

(b) Politically-associated placards and banners, especially those with identifiable logos. Provocative messages may invoke conflict and chaos.

(c) Sharp or dangerous items such as pocket knives, scissors, pointy objects etc. Having these in your possession makes it easier for the authorities to justify your potential arrest.

(d) For obvious reasons, don't bring fireworks, firecrackers, flares, flammable materials to the rally.

(e) Cigarettes. It's already going to be pretty-packed at the rally; non-smokers would rather not choke on secondhand smoke too.

7. Make sure your phone is fully charged the night before. For good measure, download the FireChat app to enable communication in case of limited coverage (i.e. jammed signals and no mobile data or wi-fi) during the rally.

Image via Android Central

More on how FireChat enables off-the-grid communication here.


1. If you're planning on staying overnight in the main KL event, be sure to arrive at the designated meeting points - Brickfields, Pasar Seni, Sogo, Masjid Negara and Menara Maybank - by 2.00pm before moving on to Dataran Merdeka

For those who are getting in on the action in other states, take note of your respective meeting points:

The full list of Global Bersih events and other relevant details here.

2. Do let your family members and friends know that you are attending the rally. Even better, get them to come along with you, as it is strongly advised that participants arrive in groups instead of alone.

Image via CNN

According to Facebook user Josephine Gan, small groups of 3 or 4 people should join up with a bigger group of protesters to guard yourselves against "thugs and bullies" opposing the Bersih rally. To be safe, make sure you have everyone's phone numbers.

As it can be quite difficult to keep track of everyone, especially in a big group of people, Gan suggests forming a 'buddy system' so that you have a friend to hold on to when things get chaotic. Hold on to your friend's arm or hand at all times and don't let go!

3. Parents, try not to bring your kids along. Based on what happened in the previous rallies, everyone - young or old - might be hit by tear gas, water cannons, and the possibility of a stampede if things get out of control.

Also, according to the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, children below 15 are banned from attending rallies.

4. Avoid driving into the city as there will be roadblocks in place in addition to road closures, not to mention to massive crowd of protesters taking to the streets. Take public transportation such as buses, LRT, monorail, or KTM instead, but do have back-up plans just in case.

Can you imagine driving into the city when crowds this massive are expected to converge there? Nope.

Image via Jamie Liew

If you're going to the rally with a group of people, set up your own meeting point BEFORE you proceed to the official meeting points and carpool to the nearest LRT station. Make sure you bring along your Touch 'n' Go and/or Rapid KL card with sufficient balance for your commute!

Alternatively, Cilisos recommends parking somewhere in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur (e.g. Bangsar or Ampang). Then, get a cab to take you as close as possible to where you want to go and walk the rest of the way.

You can also opt to book rooms in the city overnight, preferably from the 29th to the 31st, allowing you to control your level of involvement over the weekend.

5. Once you've arrived at the scene of the rally, keep a look out for the Field Commander and remain vigilant of your surroundings as you wait for the rally to start. It's a good time to chat up some of your fellow protestors too!

6. Mobile toilets will be made available, but they might not be easily accessible especially if you're in the middle of a crowd. So... conduct your business the best you can (both number 1's and 2's) before joining the rally.

File pic for illustration purposes only.

Image via Portable Toilet Rental Service


1. Things are bound to get a little messy once the rally starts. Don't panic, stay close to your group of people, and most importantly, avoid getting involved with provocations and conflict with anyone at all.

Always remember that this is a peaceful rally, so do not incite the anger of others with provocative language or actions. Report any suspicious activities to your Field Commander.

2. Unfortunately, there's a high chance you might encounter some raucous individuals, particularly those opposing the rally. The only thing you should be doing is to IGNORE THEM.

Image via Malaysiakini

Do not react to their taunts and threats. Do whatever you can to get as far away from them.

If they become aggressive, whether physically or verbally, report to the Field Commander or the police. Better yet, take photos with clear shot of their faces but do be careful when doing so.

3. Sooner or later, you will encounter the police force. Do remember that they are just following orders and doing their jobs, so don't panic and just go about your usual rally business as long as you do not provoke them.

4. Now, on to the scariest of them all - tear gas. Run as fast as you can, preferably to a higher ground and against the wind, if a tear gas canister is deployed near you. Things can get a little confusing too, so here are some hints that tear gas is coming:

1. People running in your direction

2. Sounds of explosions

3. Smelling something funny in the air, or seeing more haze than you should.
Image via Hugo Teng

5. According to previous rally participants' accounts, being tear-gassed will make you feel like you're choking in your own tears, nauseous, and feel like lying down. Don't do that, you'll get trampled. Run like h*** away from the gas to an open space, preferably in higher ground.

Tear gas is heavier than air so the effects are worse when you're on a lower ground. Run to open areas in higher grounds instead!

Once you're away from the gas, here's where some of the items you've (hopefully) packed in your backpack will come in handy:

Don’t worry too much about a bit of coughing and choking, because that’s actually the body’s best way to get the stuff out of your system. But if it gets too much, look out for these amazing guys from the BERSIH MEDICAL TEAM - made up of hundreds of volunteers on standby to help you.

If you are not able to locate them, send an SMS to 011-1237 7118 or 013-203 6911 with your current location and nearby landmarks as well as a rundown of the medical emergency and relevant contact numbers.

6. And if the water cannons come out...

7. The police have given their assurance that stun guns will not be used at the Bersih rally, but here are some preventive steps you can take to counter taser attacks in case they do:

Image via Sin Chew Daily
1. Being fully-clothed will not stop the effects of a taser or a stun gun, as your shirt is probably not going to provide enough resistance against the high voltage... unless your clothes are at least 2 inches thick, like a thick leather jacket* 2. **Wear a raincoat, preferably plastic and/or rubberised (non-conductors of electricity), which is not easily pierced by barbs. 3. If you're in close proximity to a taser, run in every direction you can think of instead of just a single direction. A stun gun has a limited range (about 6m) and a slow discharge speed, so it's not that difficult to outrun a taser especially when you're all over the place; the cops won't know where to aim. 4. If you get hit by a taser, try your best to swipe the darts off your chest to remove the wires. But let's hope things do not come to that.

8. If you feel like taking a time out from the rally, there are several places where you can seek refuge:

Three Catholic churches in KL are opening their doors to rally-goers - Cathedral of St. John in Bukit Nanas, Church of St. Anthony in Jalan Pudu, and Church of Our Lady Fatima in Brickfields. Certain Hindu and Buddhist temples in the city will also welcome those who need sanctuary from the chaos outside. You can also seek shelter in any nearby building, although some shops may be closed due to the rally.

Tenants of hotels and old buildings have been known to be very understanding during the rallies, so ask nicely, be generally careful, and of course remember that when tear gas hits, it’s better to head UPwards.


1. Disperse slowly, quietly, and peacefully. Most importantly, do stay behind to help clean up the site(s) of the rally.

There's bound to be a lot of rubbish leftover from the rally, so let's not leave the clean-up to the poor City Council workers.

Image via Malaysia Chronicle

Thank the Field Commander, and make sure to add your new friends on Facebook before bidding them "see you again!"

2. However, if you get arrested by the police for some reason or other, provide ONLY your name, IC, and address. You have the right to remain silent, except to ask, "Am I under arrest?" Please refer to the below infographic for further action:

3. In the event that thing escalated to the point where you are brought to the police station, remember that you have the right to remain silent and to be afforded legal representation

The Bar Council Legal Aid Centre (KL) has set up an "urgent arrest" team to provide legal assistance to those who've been apprehended by the police. They can be contacted at:

1. 018-321 1506
2. 011-1214 0877

Send an SMS to one of those numbers with the following information:

1. Your name
2. The name, IC no., and contact number of the arrested person
3. The police station to which they have been taken to, if known

The team will try to contact the arrested person to arrange legal assistance as quickly as possible to help secure their release.

More details on what you should do if you or anyone you know has been arrested by the police here.

4. Note that the police have the right to detain you for 24 hours without formal charges. During that time, be courteous to the cops and don't hesitate to request medical attention if you are injured in any way.

Once you've been released from police custody:

Familiarise yourself with your basic legal rights when you are apprehended by the police:

Do you have any other tips or advice for those who are attending the Bersih rally? Let us know in the comments below!

Don't let the threat of being tear-gassed stop you from joining the fray. Here are some more tips and tricks to overcome its effects:

Stay tuned for the SAYS Bersih 4 LIVE coverage, coming to you from 28 August, 5pm onwards

Whether or not you're going to the rally, join in the fray of live chats, tweets and Instagram photos and videos from participants on the ground with the #Bersih4 hashtag.

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