Sime Darby chairman Tun Musa Hitam invited several bloggers for dinner last evening.
He was very frank about why he wanted to engage bloggers. They're key in what he terms the digital democracy and they (pretty much) did not make Sime Darby's proposal to take over IJN happen. And their attack on Sime Darby's role in the proposal to build the LCCT in Labu really screwed up things.
He felt that the bloggers did not really get the true picture or the full story about Sime Darby's position in these plans.
All that had not been easy for Sime Darby.
Tun Musa admitted that Sime Darby failed to explain its position in the IJN and LCCT-Labu plans.
He said Sime Darby's PR consultant, Fox Media, is no longer representing the company.
"We have terminated their contract," he said.
So, it's like starting afresh.
It's never too late, I always say. Because Sime Darby is moving on with more plans, more ventures. And more controversies, maybe.
After all, Sime Darby plans to increase it's plantation holdings from its current 600,000 hectares to about a million hectares in the next five years. It plans to be a major global player in plantation, of course, as well as engineering, properties and natural resources development.
It's got a lot of things going right now not only abroad but in the country.
The bloggers were Rocky's Bru (Ahirudin Attan), The Scribe (Datuk A Kadir Jasin), (The Scribe), Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong, I Am A Malaysian (Eric Woon), Outsyed The Box (Syed Akhbar Ali), CT Choo and me.
Also with us at the dinner held Sime Darby Convention Centre in Bukit Kiara were Sime Darby's president and group chief executive Datuk Ahmad Zubir Murshid and the head of corporate social responsibility, group communications and corporate affairs, Leela Barrock.
Leela, a former journalist (with Business Times and The Edge) was the one who set up the dinner/meeting.
I've never met Datuk Zubir before this. But Tun Musa is no stranger to me, Rocky or Datuk Kadir.
Tun Musa reminded us that he had always been positive about the blogs and bloggers.
"If you remember (looking at Rocky and I), at the launching of the book Tun Dr Ismail in Johor Baru in 2007, I autographed a book with, Bloggers of the world, unite," he remarked.
Yes, we acknowledged. We were there in Johor Baru at the function. And it was Rocky's copy of the book. Click HERE.
Tun Musa and Datuk Zubir spoke at length about the congolomerate's position and plans, and admitted "learning" from their mistakes (read: poor PR) in the handling of the IJN and LCCT proposals.
Tun Musa was candid about his role in Sime Darby.
"I'm going to be 75, you know....", Tun Musa said, half jesting about being Sime Darby chairman and having to deal with all that comes with the job.
Sime Darby is picking up where it left off post-IJN and Labu, with big plans and better PR.
But the way the evening went, Tun Musa (always so suave and witty) and the soft-spoken Datuk Zubir might as well have been Sime Darby's own public relations "outfit".
Do read The Scribe's posting on this HERE and Rocky's Bru HERE.