More corporations should emulate Sime Darby in engaging bloggers and practising transparency

On Wednesday evening of 25 February 2009, 7 other bloggers and I were invited by Sime Darby Berhad’s Chairman, Tun Musa Hitam, and its President and Group Chief Executive, Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid, to a dinner at its Convention Centre at Bukit Kiara. Head of Corporate Social Responsibilty & Group Communications and Corporate Affairs, Leela Barrock, was also present.

The reason why I was invited was because I was one of the ‘bloggers’ who had been critical of Sime Darby’s involvement in the IJN and LCCT @ Labu issues that ended with the conglomerate abandoning the projects. I also agreed to attend only because I sensed there was sincerity on their part to engage bloggers instead of just having the function as a mere PR exercise to gloss things over.

The tone of the evening was set when Tun Musa started off by saying that all he wanted to do was “for us to just sit down and talk about nothing, especially with those who are critical of us.”

Talk we did and the “nothing” bit was Tun’s way of saying nothing is sacrosanct and don’t be afraid to ask. He also added, “We believe in good governance and we want to be transparent about what we do. When we make mistakes we want to know where and we’ll fix them.”

Blogger Datuk A Kadir Jasin was quick to the point and led by going straight to ‘talk’ about the IJN controversy, followed by LCCT @ Labu. What was revealing was the fact that Sime Darby was caught off-guard and was a victim of its own corporate governance when it came to both issues. According to Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zubir, Sime Darby will never make any comment or announcement regarding any project until and unless they had solid “black & white” and only after conforming to the company’s and Bursa Malaysia’s requirements.

All said, while Sime Darby was busy doing the governance needful, they left a vacuum a little too long that was quickly filled with speculations and diatribes. Oppositions to the projects from the public came so fast and furious that anything Sime Darby should say after that would be seen as attempts at rationalization and back-pedalling.

Admittedly, Sime Darby (whose background is one nurtured in government) had problems in their Public Relations department – they never had any! Tun Musa also admitted that Sime Darby had Fox Media but Fox Media failed miserably in the public relations exercise and that’s why Leela Barrock has recently come on board to rectify that weakness.

At the informal dinner that took 4 hours, we talked about many issues. I came out of it feeling that Sime Darby is serious about transparency, governance and corruption and is not afraid to admit their mistakes. If it takes to meet up with bloggers to hear their views they will do it.

Tun Musa said Sime Darby will continue to engage bloggers. “We are in the age of digital democracy and the old ways of doing things are gone. We will have to change and keep up with the times.”

I will give Sime Darby the benefit of the doubt and wish other corporations would emulate the conglomerate by engaging bloggers and practising transparency and true governance.

* The bloggers who were present: Datuk A Kadir Jasin (The Scribe), Ahirudin Atan (Rocky’s Bru), CT Choo (de minimis), Noraina Samad (3540 Jalan Sudin), Eric Woon (I Am A Malaysian), Syed Akhbar Ali (Outsyed The Box) and yours truly. One blogger was absent with apology.

– Terjemahan oleh Lee Wee Tak – Ucapan ribuan terima kasih dari Wee Choo Keong –

Syarikat-syarikat besar harus mencontohi Sime Darby bersua dengan para bloggers dan mengamalkan ketelusan

Pada sebelah petang Rabu 25 Februari 2009 lalu, saya dan 7 orang blogger lain telah dijemput oleh Pengerusi Sime Darby Berhad, Tun Musa Hitam, serta Presiden dan Ketua Eksekutif Kumpulan , Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid, supay amenghadiri jamuan malam di Pusat Konveysennnya di Bukit Kiara. Ketua Tanggungjawab Kemasyarakatan, Perhubungan dan Perihal Korprate, Leela Barrock, turut hadir.

Sebab saya dijemput adalah kerana saya antara blogger yang kuat membidas penglibatan Sime Darby dalam peristiwa IJN dan LCCT @ Labu yang berakhir dengan kumpulan besar ini menggugurkan rancangan tersebut. Saya menghadiri jamuan ini kerana saya terasa keikhlasan mereka ingin bersua dengan para blogger dan bukan setakat hendak mempamerkan usaha hubungan awam sahaja.

Nada perjumpaan ditentukan oleh Tun Musa pada peringkat awal apabila beliau berucap bahawa apa yang beliau inginkan adalah “…kita semua duduk dan bercakap apa sahaja terutamanya pihak yang bidas kita”

Kita memang bercakap banyak dan maksud istilah “nothing” yang diungkapkan oleh Tun adalah cara beliau menyatakan bahawa tiada apa ynag tidak be=oleh dibincangkan dan usah takut mengutarakan soalan. Beliau juga menambah bahawa “kita (Sime Darby) berpegang tegas kepada pentadbiran baik dan ketelusan dalam pendekatan kita. Jika terdapat kesilapan kita hendak tahu apa salahnya dan kita ingin memperbetulkannya.”

Blogger Datuk A Kadir Jasin pantas mengungkitkan perkara dan terus sahaja berucap mengenai peristiwa IJN dan diikuti denganLCCT @ Labu. Apa yang menjadi jelas adalah Sime Darby sendiri tidak perasan mengenai perkembangan terkini dan telah menjadi mangsa kepada pengurusan pentadbirannya sendiri dalam kedua kejadian itu. Menurut Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zubir, Sime Darby tidak akan membuat pengumuman mengenai apa rancangan lagi sehingga menerima bukti bertulis dan setelah menuruti segala peruntukan Bursa Malaysia.

Semasa Sime Darby sibuk menguruskan perihal pemtadbirannya, ia telah mendatangkan ruang masa di mana banyak spekulasi telah timbul. Segala spekulasi timbul dengan pantas sehingga menjadikan Sime Darby kelihatan seolah-olah sedang menerang keputusannya serta mengkaji semula keputusannya.

Sebenarnya, Sime Darby (yang berlatar belakang sebagai syarikat kerajaan) menghadapi masalah di Jabatan Perhubungan Awam mereka – mereka tiada satu pun! Tun Musa juga mengakui bahawa mereka telah mengupah Fox Media tetapi Fox Media telah gagal teruk dalam rancangan perhubungan awamnya dan sebab itulah Leela Barrock dijemput ke dalam lembaga pengarah untuk mengatasi kelemahan ini.

Dalam jamuan tidak rasmi sepanjang 4 jam ini, kita berbincang mengeni banyak perkara. Saya dapat rasa betapa bertekadnya Sime Darby dalam perhal ketelusan, pentadbiran dan rasuah dan mereka tidak takut mengakui salah. Jika langkah pembaikan melibat bersua dengan para blogger maka mereka sanggup bersua dengan bloggers.

Tun Musa berkata Sime Darby akan terus berhubung dengan para bloggers. “Kita berada dalam zaman democracy baru dan kaedah lama tidak boleh dipakai lagi. Kita harus berubah dan sentiasa mengikuti arus perkembangan.”

Saya akan percaya Sime Darby pada mulanya dan saya berharap lain syarikat besar akan mencontohi Sime Darby dengan bersua dengan bloggers dan mengamalkan ketelusandalam pentadbiran.

*Bloggers yang hadir: Datuk A Kadir Jasin (The Scribe), Ahirudin Atan (Rocky’s Bru), CT Choo (de minimis), Noraina Samad (3540 Jalan Sudin), Eric Woon (I Am A Malaysian), Syed Akhbar Ali (Outsyed The Box) dan saya. Salah seorang blogger tidak sempat hadir.

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3 thoughts on “More corporations should emulate Sime Darby in engaging bloggers and practising transparency

  1. lanwm

    i must commend SB for inviting you Yb as their guest. shows that they are more open and serious in dealing with the online world.

    Will Tony F follow suit?

    Reply
  2. lee wee tak

    talk is cheap, action speaks louder than words

    did Sime Darby justify why they wanted to privatise IJN? that’s akin to holding the desperate hostage.

    Reply
  3. lee wee tak

    Jika diteliti, tatkala Sime Darby sibuk memenuhi tata tertib pengurusannya, ruang masa antara tindakan mereka cukup lama untuk diisi dengan pelbagai spekulasi dan tanggapan lain. Bantahan umum terhadap rancangan mereka begitu gergas sehingga menjadikansegala tindakan Sime Darby seumpama percubaan untuk menerang dan membaiki kesilapan.

    Sebenarnya, Sime Darby (yang berlatar belakang sebagai syarikat kerajaan) menghadapi masalah di Jabatan Perhubungan Awam mereka – mereka tiada satu pun! Tun Musa juga mengakui bahawa mereka telah mengupah Fox Media tetapi Fox Media telah gagal teruk dalam rancangan perhubungan awamnya dan sebab itulah Leela Barrock dijemput ke dalam lembaga pengarah untuk mengatasi kelemahan ini.

    Reply

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