Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sime Darby -- Moving On With Big Plans, And Better PR

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.


Wan Nordin Wan Hussin said...

That's a step in the right direction. Hope no more missteps for SD going forward!

By the way, I remember during my early 20s, a few of my contemporaries at Uni had a crush on our then Deputy (?) PM, notwithstanding the humongous age gap.

Donplaypuks® said...

SD's share price has dropped from over $13 to under $6 in less than a year.

Yet the Chairman & CEO can state that the merger exercise was a great success. That's like saying 'the operation was successful, but the patient died!'

Anywhere is the world and the Chairman & CEO would have been booted out for causing massive billion $ loss in value to the company's Shareholders.

Remember what happened to Jerry Yang, FOUNDER MEMBER of Yahoo whose faiure to accept Microsoft's offer saw shareholders lose some $20 billion? Shareholders told him to take a hike.

Only in M'sia are losers and under-performers still calling the shots and being mollycoddled by their Board. And this is not the only GLC in M'sia where under achievers continue to thrive - Tenaga, TMI etc.

Anonymous said...

They may have better PR. But they still will be the evil empire. It is not what they say or how they say. It is what they do.


Anonymous said...

So you bloggers did not get the hint. I think it's because you've grown big-headed.

I have been told by insiders in the top level of SD that Sime Darby actually wanted to hear out what killer thoughts you have for priming up SD's PR. It was supposed to be an informal job interview session.

But it's OK to enjoy your meal and nod your head to every word that the SD Chairman and CEO said.

HR Manager

Anonymous said...

With such dismal financial performance, SD is definitely doing the right thing dumping FOX with Brendan et al and their presumably steep charges.

Management 101 dictates that cost cutting be implemented to stop the bleeding. YOU GUYS ARE DEFINITELY SO MUCH CHEAPER!! and shareholders like myself fervently hope, more cost-effective.

btw, Public Relations and Journalism have distinctly different aims. One produces publicity for private (as in corporate or organisational)gain aka SPIN, while the other forms public consciousness and engages the public in conversation about issues that affect their lives of ordinary citizens.

Question for academics:
Can a PR practitioner rightly still call him(her)self a journalist??


Anonymous said...

May be after this you and Rocky can set up a PR consultancy and manage sime darby.. dua kali sama la both of you , boleh guna press club sebagai office ... why not ... semua ada kalau dah boring boleh buat line dancing... Syabas

sinnersaint:saintsinner said...

Bloggers can bend too, nothing special bout all of you.

Why engage only the few of you????? Should it not it be a open forum??? Musa can blame it at the PR firm but they dont make policy decision, it they were transparent, why didnt they make their intention public?

The duty of a firm is to engage with client on the releases. Izzzit or not, you should know better.

donplaypuks said well.

Anonymous said...

A bad product is a bad product.No amount of good PR will return the trust breached of the massess (read rakyat marhaen)

Old men should just retire gracefully and not think of dunia for dunia sake too much.Think of the poor!How many more airports do they need? How many more expensive hospitals would be enough?

Anonymous said...

SD seems to operate more like a family company with a 75-year old patriarch at the helm. From the Chairman to the PR firm, all roads lead to KJ and Dollah. Is this the type of set up that can play with the big boys and win? It's a company that is long on ambitions but short on business savvy. Peh!

Geli Geleman

ChengHo said...

Tun Musa and Zubir have to take the responsibilities.....resign from Sime keep Sime Darby honor..

Unknown said...

salam akak...

I have an award for you... pls collect it at my blog...

muah...muah... love you dearly.



whoever you are, you obviously do not know Rocky, nor me.

And, whoa....don I detect such malice from your comment. the way, I do run a media consultancy -- a company i took over from my older sister just after i left NST.
the company is more than 15 years old. and we have our own office. thank you.