Locals who failed to perform Haj receive mystery SMS
| Syazwani Hj Rosli |
AFTER receiving news that their names have been struck off from the intending Haj pilgrims list last year, most of those who failed to perform were disappointed but accepted the decision as Allah the Almighty’s Will. However, some of them were once again challenged emotionally when they started receiving sarcastic text messages since last Friday.
A couple, who wanted to remain anonymous, approached the Bulletin to express their disappointment in regard to the text messages they received. The husband told the Bulletin that it was his wife who first received the text message stating “SELAMATBERTOLAKKETANAHSUCIDAN SELAMATKEMBALIKETANAHAIR” and few minutes later, he too received the same message.
“Apparently, it’s not just us, some pilgrims whose names were off the Haj list last time also received text messages from ‘the person’. Each of us have received more than 15 text messages but the contents are not the same. Some of the messages we received stated ‘enjoy our Iftar’, ‘enjoy our fasting month’ or greeted us with ‘Salam’.
“At first, we tried to ignore this because we thought that this must be a delayed message from the Haj Department system to greet Haj pilgrims before the list was reduced to 400 pilgrims. However, it became irritating when the messages started to come in the middle of the night. The messages kept coming at around 2am and then again around 4am.
“My wife and I had a hard time to sleep because it began to disturb us emotionally. We’ve been through a difficult situation after our names were taken off from the Haj list and our money has not been refunded by our agency. Now, we have to deal with this. It really was distressing for both of us and it might be distressing for others too who received similar messages,” he continued.
However, both of them tried to get in touch with ‘the person’ who sent the SMS because, apparently, the text messages came from a Brunei number.
“We texted but there was no response. We called but never got through as we always heard the engaged tone. We tried so many times in vain but when we tried to call the number from our children’s mobile phone, it rang but was not answered. So, it made us wonder and the more we thought about the messages, the more curious we became about the motive of sending us these text messages,” he added.
He said last Saturday the couple went to the Haj Department to find answers in regard to the text messages. When they arrived, they were surprised to see many who also received similar text messages and coincidentally, all of them failed to perform the Haj last year.
“When we spoke to one of the officers from the Haj Department, we were told that the text messages were not sent by them and they advised us to seek assistance from the police. I received another message at the time stating “SELAMATMENCUBA”.
The husband said four of them went straight to the nearby police station as advised by the officer from the Haj Department and his statement was taken by one of the police officers.
“The police officer managed to contact an employee from DST Communications but somehow, we were only told that it happened because of some technical glitch. We all know spam or pop-up messages are technical glitches because they will always appear the same. We don’t think that our situation can be considered as a technical glitch. The messages are not spam or pop-ups.
“The police officer advised us to change our phone number. Why should I have to change my phone number? I have been using my number for years now. We just want to know who is responsible for sending these text messages. At least, someone from the local authority should come up with an explanation.
“DST did block the number after we made the report with the police and we haven’t received any messages from the number ever since. Yet, we still need answers from them, we want to know who is the person behind the number and what are his/her motives for doing so. I think we have the right to know,” he added.