Grab Malaysia scores lowest in effective crisis management

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

E-hailing firm Grab Malaysia has came out as the lowest scorer for deploying effective communication strategies after scoring two out of 36 points, according to Citrine One Study of Corporate Companies’ Crisis Management Communication Strategies 2019.

Citrine One Sdn Bhd managing partner Sharves Bala said the delayed response time and lack of solutions were deemed to be unacceptable in managing issues, particularly involving safety concerns.

“It is quite surprising that a people-centric company like Grab can score so low on crisis communications. It is a vulnerable industry and the global market of ridesharing has given enough case studies for Grab to have a crisis handbook,” she said in a statement yesterday.

The study has focused on and illustrated the contrasting reaction times and strategies of nine Malaysian- based companies over a 13-month period from March 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019.

The companies included AirAsia Bhd, Lynas (M) Sdn Bhd, Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAB), One City Development Sdn Bhd, RapidKL, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Genting Malaysia Bhd and Media Prima Bhd.

Based on the report, the e-hailing company has been entangled in issues relating to the safety of both drivers and passengers following robberies and sexual assaults during rides.

“The firm had 23 coverages in the media relating to robberies of drivers by passengers on several dates, while the sexual assault of a female Grab driver by a passenger was covered 10 times on March 3, 2019,” it said.

The research also noted that Grab neither engage, neutralise nor drown the controversy and instead, its reaction time was found to be longer than 72 hours.

Time is everything in a crisis because it could potentially avoid huge damages to both the company and its reputation, it said.

Meanwhile, Media Prima also made it to the list after scoring just three points in its hacking issue in 2018.

Sharves said the delayed response resulted in concerns for its large network of stakeholders.

“In hindsight, the lack of communications from the media conglomerate could have been due to sensitive legal issues and the need to track down the perpetrators,” she said.

High scorers — Lynas and MAB — both earned 26 points each, making them industry players with excellent crisis management strategies in place.

Lynas was pushed into the spotlight for its toxic waste management issues and faced requests to halt operations but had effectively neutralised and engaged with relevant stakeholders by releasing press statements and offering the public a full picture of its operations in Malaysia.

“From the communication point of view, we applaud Lynas’s consistent communication and response to issues raised by all level of stakeholders from the government, nongovernmental organisations and public especially on the health and environmental concerns raised,” she said.

MAB endured a bad financial performance with questions raised on the possible sale of the airline, prompting it to use official statements and interviews to communicate its current state of affairs and plans to recover its financial standing.

“The quick paced reaction can be due to the airline’s stature as a Malaysian carrier, to maintain the morale of its large staff base and also to maintain its share price steady,” Sharves said.

Fellow homegrown airline AirAsia scored 24 points. Despite being recognised as a vocal company, it had initially taken on a defensive stance before neutralising and engaging its audience.

“It must be said that the company resorted to a creative campaign in line with its image. The company provided baggage handlers on ground to lighten the issue, while providing a valuable brand promise and employing fast reaction time online and offline of its baggage handling crisis,” Sharves added.