Speak up to help improve haj experience, pilgrims told

Sofea Chok Suat Ling

MAKKAH: To ensure Malaysian pilgrims get better services in the years ahead, Tabung Haji (TH) compiles feedback via several avenues, and collates them at the end of every season so steps can be taken to bring about a more comfortable haj experience.

Pilgrims give feedback through forms distributed on their experience at various points - before they leave Malaysia, in the Holy Land, and when they return to the country.

TH quality assurance team head Mohd Rizzal Khalid said from this year, pilgrims would also be able to give feedback digitally via a system called e-BSS or 'borang soal selidik elektronik'.

"We will get pilgrims to fill in the electronic form as part of a pilot project. They can do so at the customer service centres at the TH headquarters here or at Hotel Al-Haram in Madinah.

He said the electronic forms were conceptualised as the pilgrim demography had changed with more now being IT savvy compared to before.

"Those days, the first question pilgrims will ask is 'Where are my bags?' but these days, it's 'Is there wifi?'.

"The physical forms will, however, also be distributed as in previous years. We aim for 11 per cent of pilgrims to fill them up," he told Malaysian media at TH headquarters Abraj Al-Janadriyah.

The questions will cover the facilities at airport terminals, the courses organised, accommodation buildings, food, the condition of buses, cleanliness, and the tents in Arafah and Mina.

He said it was important for pilgrims to give their views as it would help those performing the haj in the years ahead.

"There have been many improvements through the years based on the response we have received.

"Following the crane crash in 2015, for example, we now have an emergency response team which adheres to specific standard operating procedures and is trained in Malaysia before the haj season starts.

"This team will have several training sessions starting in Malaysia and will swing into action in the event of emergencies."

On Sept 11, 2015, seven Malaysians died when a mobile crawler crane collapsed onto the Grand Mosque here.

The disaster, which occured during the haj season, killed 107 people and injured 238.

He said there was also a contingency plan for emergencies for example in the case of fires, pilgrims would be told where to gather, get help, and others.

He pointed out that another improvement was the Dashboard Maktab where all information on Malaysian haj pilgrims - from their flights to the Holy Land to how many are in hospital - have been integrated into one single system for the first time this haj season.

This new technology is part of TH's efforts to improve the overall management of haj pilgrims and information flow between units on the ground, as well as provide a faster response time. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd