All she wanted was to collect the bottle of holy water from Mecca for her 61-year-old father.
But Miss Norhidah Ahmad Dan felt cheated when she arrived at the designated office on Victoria Street last Wednesday only to find an empty shop.
"When I found the shop at Golden Landmark, I saw a sign that said that the business was no longer operating from the premises," the 24-year-old lab assistant told The New Paper. "I was very angry. It could have been my elderly father going to collect and he would have left empty-handed."
She said that someone selling charity tickets had approached her father, a 61-year-old retiree,"some months" ago at the Geylang Serai Market.
Her father had bought one ticket costing $10.
The ticket said he could exchange it for a 500ml bottle of Zam Zam water.
Zam Zam water is drawn from a well in Mecca. It has special religious significance for Muslims.
Some of the local distributors selling the water via Facebook list their price in the range of $85 to $95 per 10-litre bottle.
Miss Norhidah made several calls to the company, which is called Riyaadhul Huffadz, RH Services and Management, but got an engaged tone.
At least 500 other people are believed to have been affected.
On Saturday, the company finally explained in Malay on its Facebook page that it was having trouble importing large quantities of Zam Zam water.
The post said the company was still waiting for approval from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the Health Science Authority of Singapore (HSA).
It also asked for those who had bought tickets to send a text message with their full name and address to a mobile number. It promised that the bottles would be delivered by Nov 1 or the money would be refunded.
A man who identified himself Mr Muhammad Maliki replied to queries TNP posted through Facebook.
He claimed that he was in Jakarta and had been there for the last eight months. He said he would return only in the middle of October.
He acknowledged the issues over the water and added that over 500 people had given him their names and addresses via text messages.
When asked why he had vacated his office in Golden Landmark, he replied that he was forced to move out by the owner of the shop space.
He claimed that he found out only recently that he was kicked out.
He added that the coupons had already been distributed when he was forced out of his shop.
When we informed Mr Maliki that AVA had not received any requests to import Zam Zam water in the last six months, he replied that he had applied "last year".
He reiterated that he would fulfil the orders for the water or refund the monies.
Miss Norhidah said: "I'm just disappointed that they had cut off all contact when it was time to collect. They should at least have stayed around to explain themselves."
This article was first published on June 24, 2015.
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