Grab is arguably Southeast Asia’s most well known ride hailing service. However, a recent study conducted by Citrine One Sdn Bhd, has revealed that Grab Malaysia in particular is well known for all the wrong reasons. The study has identified Grab Malaysia as the lowest scorer in deploying effective communication strategies.

According to the study, Grab Malaysia scored the lowest amongst several companies studied with a total of 2 points only out of a maximum of 36 points. The company was embroiled in multiple issues in relation to passengers and drivers safety following robberies and sexual assaults during Grab rides.

“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 ride sharing has given enough case studies for Grab to have a crisis handbook. The delayed response time and lack of solution is deemed unacceptable in issues management especially when it involves safety of its drivers or passengers”, commented Managing Partner of Citrine One Sdn Bhd, Sharves Bala.

Media Prima was another low scorer at only 3 points. This is a result of the poor management of the hacker situation that plagued the company in 2018.

“In hindsight, the lack of communication from the media conglomerate could have been due to sensitive legal issues and the need to track down the perpetrators. Nevertheless, the delayed response was a cause for concern for its large network of stakeholders”, added Sharves.

It is not all bad news however. Companies such as Lynas (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Malaysia Airlines Berhad scored relatively high in the study.

When put in the spotlight regarding a controversy to halt it’s operations, the company promptly put out press releases and engaged with stakeholders, the media and the public with transparency; thus minimising any sort of backlash that would have arisen should they have remained silent or slow to act.

Malaysia Airlines on the other hand were faced with the dilemma of the airlines’ bad financial performance with questions raised about the possible sale of the national carrier. The national airlines used official press statements and interviews to communicate the current state of affairs and its plans to recover its financial standing.

In today’s face-paced and globalised world, information gets around quickly. In the event of a crisis, time is of the essence. If a company does not deliver a response to a crisis fast and clearly, the media and the public will jump on the issue with ferocity as soon as they catch wind of the situation.

Citrine One’s study was commissioned on nine Malaysian-based companies (public listed and private) that faced widely covered crises between 1 March 2018 and 31 March 2019 and was conducted by an independent researcher.