Malaysia Airlines flight 370

Witch doctor who tried to help in hunt for Malaysia Airlines jet inspires host of video games

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 20 March, 2014, 11:18pm
UPDATED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 12:35pm

The witch doctor who attempted to help locate the missing Malaysia Airlines jet has inspired a host of mobile video games featuring flying carpets and coconuts.

The efforts of Ibrahim Mat Zin, a famous Malaysian bomoh (Malay for shaman), to pinpoint flight MH370 were met with scepticism and ridicule by the public and became instant fodder for mobile game developers.

Forty-six apps under the key word "bomoh" can now be downloaded from Google Play.

One of the first created, Bomoh Rescue Run by unknown developer Triapps, appeared shortly after Ibrahim Mat Zin, known as the Raja Bomoh, performed rituals at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 10 to help find the location of the jet, which carried 227 passengers - mostly Chinese - and 12 crew.

Watch: Malaysia hires ‘witch doctor’ to locate flight MH370


Available since March 13, the game has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, and 78 per cent out of the 3,823 raters gave the app a top rating of five stars.

Users control three witch doctors, in lounge suits riding a flying carpet in a row, to rescue passengers and crew on a runway to gain points. There are three modes of searching: by air, sea or on the street.

The game's description says the shamans perform rituals with water and an enchanted walking stick.

Despite it making light of a touchy subject, it drew positive comments.

"Very creative," said a user labelled Stephy Yi. "Those who want to give it a try should download as soon as possible. The game can be taken off from the shelf anytime."

Other developers have come up with puzzle and adventure games featuring the witch doctor.

Most of the bomoh games have scored higher than four stars.

Barely three days after the airplane vanished from civilian aviation radar, Ibrahim Mat Zin predicted the jet was either underwater or still flying.

After videos and pictures of his rituals surfaced, Malaysia's religious authorities, who said the rituals contravened Islamic law, dispatched seven officers to the airport to bar the witch doctor if he returned.

Muslims make up more than half of Malaysia's population of 22.7 million people. Bomohs are respected for their spiritual power by many in the country.

Ibrahim Mat Zin, who has been practising for 50 years, rose to fame after offering his services in the search for victims in several major disasters in Malaysia, according to the newspaper.

These include the 1994 Highland Tower tragedy, in which a housing complex collapsed and killed at least 48 people, and the flooding in the Kuala Dipang region in 2012.

It is not unusual in parts of Malaysia for politicians to turn to shamans.

More than 200 people in the country were defrauded of a total of more than 23 million yuan (HK$30 million) in 2012 in cases involving bomohs.

With additional reporting by Sijia Jiang