Bomoh-inspired app gets more than 100,000 downloads

Ibrahim Mat Zin (back right), a local well-known 'bomoh' (the Malay term for a shaman), performs a ritual to help find the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 12, 2014. — Reuters pic
Ibrahim Mat Zin (back right), a local well-known 'bomoh' (the Malay term for a shaman), performs a ritual to help find the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 12, 2014. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 ― Ibrahim Mat Zin, the bomoh who drew international ridicule for his antics to locate Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) flight MH370, is now the subject of an online game application.

The electronic game, “Bomoh: Rescue Run”, was developed by Triapps last Thursday has since surpassed 100,000 downloads on Google's Play Store, a digital distribution platform for applications on Android.

Bomoh is now trending at the sixth spot on the list of Top Free applications downloaded in the country, and it is one step ahead of global photo-sharing platform Instagram and trailing at the heels of Clean Master, an algorithm used to detect and clean popular applications cache.

More than 2,600 users has given five-star rating to the six-day-old application, which requires users to rescue the 239 passengers and crew members onboard red eye flight MH370 to gain more points.

“Beware of the BLACK GARUDA to counter of [sic] the bomoh along the run,” read the description posted by creator Triapps, who added that users are also tasked to search the air space, the ocean and the streets to locate the missing jumbo jet.

Ibrahim, who professes to be “raja bomoh” or the king of shamans, gained international stardom when he began conducting a supernatural search and rescue mission for the Beijing-bound jetliner with two others and equipped with coconuts and bamboo binoculars, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) last week. 

The spectacle drew an immediate backlash from observers as well as Internet users who took to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to deride the witch doctors, with some posting spoof pictures of them sitting on a supposed flying carpet. Some of the pictures have gone viral.

The Malaysian government had also come under fiery criticism for allowing the group to conduct the rituals in the public area.

Ibrahim claimed the jet carrying 227 passengers and 12 aircrew had travelled into the “alam bunian”, a Malay description for a spiritual realm inhabited by supernatural beings.

Triapps has also developed another game called Tamparan Buaya or the Crocodile Slap, in connection to Ibrahim's  warning to Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who urged religious authorities to apprehend Ibrahim.

Ibrahim, in a Suara TV recording, issued a stern warning to Khairy not to cross his path and challenged him to a duel.

Apart from the applications developed by Triapps, there are some 30  applications which appear to be spin-offs from the Bomoh saga. Many are less popular among Android users.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) has since issued directive that its officers stationed at the KLIA will arrest anyone seen to be performing rituals which went against Islamic teachings.

Local forum and online community network,, has also published a public service announcement (PSA) warning users of granting “explicit” access to the increasingly famous Bomoh application.

According to writer Pang Tun Yau, the all round access required by the game “raises plenty of suspicion”, as Pang pointed out that other gaming applications like Fun Run, require limited access.

“Why does 'Bomoh' require access to so many areas of your personal device? Something is definitely not right here, and we urge everyone to not download the app, even if it is for a little bit of fun.

“Also, be wary of the deluge of spam posts appearing on Facebook, claiming to be a video that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been found,” added the PSA.

The search continues for the missing Boeing 777-200ER jetliner 11 days after it dropped out from the radar in the pre-dawn hours on Saturday.

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