MoRA clarifies mystery SMS confusion
| Azlan Othman |
THE Ministry of Religious Affairs has clarified that the text messages received by last year’s Haj applicants were unintentionally sent from the Haj Management System (HMS) and they fully regret any inconvenience caused and offered sincere apologies to those affected.
The ministry was responding to the Bulletin’s article last week entitled, ‘Locals who failed to perform Haj receive mystery SMS’.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs through the Haj Management Department has been implementing the Haj Management System (HMS) since February 2012 and is in the final stage of system development and testing.
One of the services being tested recently is a short message service (SMS) which will inform Haj pilgrims regarding their application status and various activities during their preparations for the Haj.
“We have referred the issue above to the vendor developing the system. The vendor explained that due to an oversight during the final stage where dummy data should be used, the SMS used for testing were automatically sent to the actual database which contains last year’s Haj applicants.
“The phone number used to send the messages is a dedicated number for the Ministry’s SMS gateway, which will be used for various SMS services in the future. Currently, the number is being used for internal purposes and is still under the testing phase. It will use an official name once it is launched,” the ministry said.
The ministry clarified that its SMS gateway is using DST as a means to transmit the text messages. As such, DST is not in any way responsible for the unintentional text messages sent to last year’s Haj applicants.
The ministry hopes that such clarification would alleviate the confusion experienced by those affected.
The Bulletin reported last week that some pilgrims whose names were off the Haj list last year received such text messages, wishing them bon-voyage to the holy place and safe return, with some claiming to have received more than 15 text messages with different contents. Some of the messages received stated ‘enjoy our Iftar’, ‘enjoy our fasting month’ or greeted with ‘Salam’.
At first, they ignored them because they thought those were delayed messages from the Haj Management Department’s 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 at around 4am, giving them a hard time sleeping because it began to disturb them emotionally.