Archive for March 28th, 2014

Deputy Defence Minister should resign or be sacked for plunging government and country into greater credibility crisis in the long-running MH370 disaster

The Deputy Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri should resign or be sacked for plunging the government and country into a greater credibility crisis in the long-running MH370 disaster.

Already, Malaysia is in the eye of the storm not only over the hitherto inexplicable 21-day disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft but the centre of an international hurricane over our crisis management with great distrust that the aggrieved families are not given all the relevant information.

As a Canadian media specialist has rightly pointed out, in the world of crisis communications, perceptions can be killers.

In these circumstances of an international crisis over our crisis management, it is just unacceptable that we have a bumbling and bungling Deputy Defence Minister who could be so irresponsible and reckless as to talk rubbish in Parliament on Wednesday, saying during the winding-up speech for the Defence Ministry in the debate on the motion of thanks for the royal address, that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) did not attempt to intercept MH370 when it was detected on military radar off the Straits of Malacca on March 8 as the RMAF had “assumed” that the plane was ordered to turn back by flight traffic controllers.

It is not good enough for him to make a U-turn after more than 24 hours of shaming the RMAF, the government and the nation and say that his remarks in the Dewan Rakyat on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370’s turn back had been proven erroneous, and that it was based on his own assumptions.

Compounding his egregious error in Parliament, Abdul Rahim claimed yesterday that conclusive answers will only be available when the debris from the plane is found.
Read the rest of this entry »


How communicating in crisis went wrong for M’sia

Nancy Argyle
Mar 27, 2014

COMMENT In the very specialised field of disaster communications, there is one cardinal rule. Do no harm. It’s a rule that the teams communicating the crisis of disappeared Malaysia Flight MH370 did not seem to fully comprehend.

While there were many things that they did right, their actions were overshadowed by what went wrong and, despite Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Abdul Rajak seeming to sincerely feel the anguish of the families, puzzlingly, the actual communications effort from others did not reflect it.

In a crisis, the expectations placed on government officials are at their highest. This is the one time that the public has very little tolerance for error. After all, if you can’t trust your government in a disaster, who can you trust?

Unfortunately, the needs of the public and media in a crisis often clash with the traditional “knee-jerk” reaction of officials trying to control the information coming out. It’s an all too common scene that you see happen all over the world and through many different disasters.

So what went wrong with communications surrounding the disappearance of MH370 and how could this have been done better? Read the rest of this entry »


MH370 mystery complicates last rites for the missing

Agence France Presse
March 27, 2014

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia has said all 239 people aboard flight MH370 are believed dead, but the failure to recover bodies is complicating efforts to lay their souls to rest, relatives and religious leaders said on Thursday.

The flight carried passengers from around the world following a number of major religions, and the failure to achieve closure via last rites has added to the anguish of grieving relatives.

Hindus traditionally perform special prayers on the first, 16th and 30th day after a person’s death. Read the rest of this entry »


A company embroiled in tragedy must display tact

By John Gapper
Financial Times
March 26, 2014

GM dealt deftly with a fatal fault while Malaysia Airlines’ crisis has become a diplomatic disaster

General Motors and Malaysia Airlines are both in trouble but one is giving a lesson in how to handle a fatal crisis while the other is offering a masterclass in how not to. There is a glaring contrast in the behaviour, and ability to cope with public criticism, of Mary Barra, GM’s chief executive, and Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, the chief executive of Malaysia Airlines – although Ms Barra has a simpler task.

Both face the most critical corporate challenge – how to respond when your customers die because they used your product or service. The GM accident victims were a dozen drivers or passengers of faulty compact cars; in Malaysia Airlines’ case, the presumed victims are the 239 passengers of the missing flight.

Ms Barra, who took over as GM’s boss in January, has so far reacted in an exemplary manner. She has stepped up to take personal responsibility, admitted that GM is to blame and apologised; emphasised her sorrow “as a mom with a family of my own” and promised not only to make amends but to use the crisis as a turning point for GM.

Mr Ahmad oversaw the blunder in which some families were informed of deaths by text message. Having emphasised in a statement that he responded “as parent, as a brother, as a son”, he relapsed into defensive corporate-speak in a BBC Radio interview. Describing the criticism as “unfair”, he insisted that his airline had “given beyond . . . what I call the standard scenario”. Read the rest of this entry »