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By Nadia Jumri
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 (Bernama) – Although nearly six decades have gone by since its establishment, Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) is not resting on its laurels and is pressing on with its efforts to help Malaysian Muslims realise their dream of fulfilling the fifth pillar of Islam, which is performing the haj pilgrimage.
As an Islamic institution that is always striving to serve its depositors better, the haj pilgrim management and fund board recently launched its TH Mobile Branch initiative to make it easier for its customers to seek its services.
To stay relevant to its vision – namely, the Pillar of the Ummah’s Economic Success; Excellence in Haj Management – TH, which now has almost nine million depositors and 123 branches, is confident the latest move will help attract new depositors.
TH MOBILE BRANCH
TH acting executive director of operations Mohamed Ameen Abdul Wahab said the mobile branch service, which got off the ground in June this year, involves its officers from eight TH Service Centres (PPTH) and eight TH branches located at Urban Transformation Centres (UTCs) nationwide.
The initiative covers various districts in the following states: Johor, Pahang, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan, Kedah, Terengganu, Melaka and Sabah.
“To make it easier for our depositors to seek services offered by TH, the TH Mobile Branch, or the external marketing team as it is also called, will open at the specified time and days in locations that we have already identified (in the states concerned),” Mohamed Ameen told Bernama when met at his office in Menara Tabung Haji here recently.
“What TH wants to highlight now is its mobile concept in order to remove the stigma that all it does is sit around and wait for customers to come. Our transaction statistics have shown that transactions carried out at PPTH have been too low while our UTC branches are located close to the TH state branch offices.
“As such, we have now launched this (mobile branch) initiative in an effort to approach the public, considering that 55 percent of Muslims in this country still don’t have a savings account with TH.”
Mohamed Ameen said among the services available at the TH mobile counter are opening new accounts, opening virtual accounts, updating profiles, haj affairs and registration, activating THiJARI, naming heirs, changing account status from child to adult, savings, account activation and printing statements.
TH was established to help Malaysian Muslims perform the haj. Towards this end, it is crucial that they plan their haj pilgrimage properly by opening a savings account with TH as well as registering themselves for the haj.
With only 45 percent of Muslims in Malaysia having opened accounts with TH, Mohamed Ameen is confident that the mobile branch initiative will push the percentage up by at least another five percent, thus achieving the aspirations of HIJRAH24 or the TH Strategic Transformation Plan 2022-2024.
“HIJRAH24, which was launched by the Prime Minister on April 20 (this year), is a three-year plan outlining 24 initiatives for TH to implement. It’s my hope to steer TH to greater heights and HIJRAH24’s objective is to get at least 50 percent of the Muslims of this nation to become depositors of TH by 2024.
“Hence, TH must increase the number of depositors by at least five percent over this three-year period. It won’t work if we were to just sit in our office. TH needs to intensify efforts to go to their (depositors) locations through our TH Mobile Branch initiative,” he added.
He said following the launch of the initiative on June 7, 2022, a total of 5,835 new accounts were opened.
“It is proof that our mobile branch service is providing the opportunity for more Muslims to benefit from the services provided by TH,” added Mohamed Ameen, who has worked in the banking sector for over 20 years.
Among the depositors who are pleased with the TH Mobile Branch is food caterer Ghazizani Abd Ghani, 47.
Met by Bernama while she was carrying out a transaction at the TH Mobile Branch at Masjid Kariah Paroi Jaya in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, the mother-of-five said it is easier now for her to seek TH’s services.
Located within the mosque’s premises, the counter is open twice a week – on Tuesdays and Thursdays – from 10 am to 3 pm.
Ghazizani said the location is convenient for many people as the mosque has ample parking space. Not only that, the mobile branch also offers TH’s complete range of facilities; customers can also seek clarification on any matter and get to perform their prayers as well.
“I stay just two kilometres from the mosque and there’s no parking problem here. At the UTC, which is about eight kilometres away, parking is difficult.
“One more thing, over here (mobile counter) we can ask a lot of questions with regard to haj affairs. It’s more customer-friendly unlike the TH branch at the UTC where sometimes we are required to complete our transactions in a hurry,” said Ghazizani, who opened her TH account in 2015.
The convenient location of the mobile branch also prompted her to open an account each for her two daughters aged 12 and 14.
“Since they are below 18, I as their mother have to open their accounts for them, with a minimum deposit of RM10 per person,” she added.
Describing it as an excellent initiative, Masjid Kariah Paroi Jaya chairman Muhammad Fadillah Zulkafli, 51, said the mobile branch has not only benefitted TH depositors but the mosque as well.
He said the TH Mobile Branch was good news for him because it enabled him to open accounts for his two younger sons aged 12 and 14, which he had earlier been putting off due to time constraints and his busy work schedule.
“I opened accounts for my two older sons (aged 16 and 17) sometime back. With this branch, it is easier for me to make deposits for them,” he added.
NUMBER OF DEPOSITORS RISING
UTC Seremban finance executive Nur Haziqah Hashim, meanwhile, said every week an average of 35 to 40 depositors, both new and existing, visit TH’s mobile counter at Masjid Kariah Paroi Jaya to carry out their transactions.
“In a day, about 60 to 70 transactions are carried out, including updating profiles, depositing money and opening new accounts,” she said, adding that the counter is manned by four staff comprising a supervisor, two cashiers and an auxiliary policeman.
Pointing out that the response to the TH Mobile Branch initiative has been encouraging so far, she feels that it is one of the best alternatives to serving TH depositors better and finding a place in their hearts.
Translated by Rema Nambiar
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