Pakatan Harapan and its communication strategy ....

Recently at an event that he was officiating, Lim Guan Eng was commenting, that back in the day if you wanted to read bad stuff about Malaysia you read the Singapore newspapers and vice versa. These days that is not the case anymore as everyday you can see the new Government getting its fair share of bad press.

Overnight after winning the elections, the new government seems to have lost or forgotten the art of communications. They have also learned the hard way that social media is a double edged sword. The complete dominance of the digital realm pre elections has now given way to total loss of voice on social media. Of course it doesn't help that there are daily missteps and confusing statements by the new ministers to add to the confusion.

This brings me to the question of what has gone wrong and why is the new government failing miserably in the art of communicating with the rakyat. I mean the bar has been set so low with the previous government that you would think it doesn't actually take that much to have a clear communication guideline and get your ministers and spokespersons to adhere to it. Yet daily we see Ministers, their aides shooting from the hip and then backtracking profusely when it blows up on social media.

With the abundance of seasoned media personnel currently out there by virtue of retiring or taking the VSS packages it's baffling to me that certain ministers have decided to hire from within the party for media roles for said ministries. This invariably leads to media gaffes that eventually will lead to the erosion of support from the base.

What is the point of doing all the good work if it's not communicated properly and instead allowing your political opponents to shape the narrative and by default take the lead in communications to the rakyat?

Loads of issues have not been handled or communicated properly from ICERD, ECRL, Tolls and the congestion charge and now a flying car. In the meantime we have inexperienced media officers accusing RTM of "sabotage", while the rakyer sits and wonders what is going on?

Firstly, all Ministers need to be on the same page.. Next, please hire experienced media people to run your ministry's' media platform and not some crony from within the party who has no media credentials, as this will only further embarrass the ministry in the future.

The majority of the rakyat do want to see the new Government work and do well so please tap in to the myriad of talent out there who are willing to help. Otherwise there will be no difference between "Old" and "New" Malaysia


Written by Gogulan Dorairajoo, CEO of Rantau Golin

BFM Statement Lacks Emotional Conviction

In respect of the allegations of sexual harassment, two employees 
have been served termination letters for misconduct. The Board has 
determined that there is sufficient evidence to warrant this course 
of action


On Monday, January 7th, 2019, 36 days after announcing that it had begun formal investigations into sexual misconducts by several senior employees as alleged in an anonymous email, BFM issued a third statement into the matter stating that it had sacked two persons based on "sufficient evidence to warrant this course of action". The popular radio station also explained that it did not make a police report of a separately alleged rape incident "as the complainant did not wish to escalate the matter at the time".

BFM's communication process throughout this entire scandal is mostly on point and checks almost all the boxes I personally look at in a crisis. In fact, I wrote about the five key considerations in crisis communications, in early 2018, with regards to the Facebook - Cambridge Analytica issue, which I have linked here.

So here is my dissection of BFM's communications based on my five points, :

  1. As soon as it became aware of the anonymous email, BFM immediately spoke with its employees and followed this with a public statement. It even cleverly took to social media.
  2. BFM did not deny that there was any truth to the sexual misconduct allegations and instead announced that it had initiated an independent investigation into the matter.
  3. The station was quick to act and fast to make a stand before the email was publicly made known by the media thus taking ownership of the situation.
  4. BFM has indicated how it plans to tackle this issue moving forward and even mentions a timeline.

I read the latest statement that appeared to say all the right things, yet strangely, I felt unmoved by what was said. It took me three reads before I realised why. The statement was lacking the one crucial element that I personally find important when communicating in a crisis and that is the emotional conviction by the management, led by Malek Ali. All I read, was a whisper of an apology.

The gravity of the issue surely demands stronger words than

The BFM management team acknowledges that more could have been done to proactively gather evidence so that such misconduct could have been addressed in a more timely manner.

Perhaps I am simple-minded, but I would have greater respect for BFM's management and its commitment to this matter if they simply said "we are sorry" or "we take full responsibility". After all, none of the harassment or rape issues would have come to light if that damning email had not been sent to the various media and the only reason BFM has sacked its star performers is because all eyes are on them, and management delivered the pound of flesh demanded of them.

So, despite having played the crisis card well, I am left disappointed. At this juncture where the organisation's morale and reputation are at an all-time low, there is little to lose by being the bigger person in recognising that as management, the fault is largely on you for your failure to curb such transgressions and ensuring non-gender fairness and safety at your workplace.

All is not lost though, and statements are merely words.

BFM's next actions in putting in place a zero tolerance policy, as it claims, against sexual misconduct will be watched by many quarters, and how the management embraces and enforces such policies in its growing workplace will speak for its true emotional conviction on this matter. Has everything that has come to pass merely been BFM's commendable reaction to a crisis or will it use this opportunity to turn the organisation around and show the rest of us, how to be better as employers.

In the meantime and for many years to come, BFM's handling of this scandal will be widely discussed, debated and dissected by practitioners of PR, HR and compliance.

Written by Janitha Sukumaran, Founder of Rantau Golin

Pitch Perfect

Striding through the corridors of Rantau’s Petaling Jaya office, Chief Executive Officer Gogulan Dorairajoo cuts a tall, trim figure with legs up to his eyeballs.


Kitted out in a smart blue-and-white small-check shirt and not a hair out of place, you’d think the dapper CEO wouldn’t be getting himself dirty and sweat-soaked at the end of his working days being head honcho of the boutique PR, communications and consulting powerhouse.

You’d be mistaken. At the end of the same day that I managed to squeeze an hour out of his packed schedule for our chat, he was at bootcamp.

But it gets more hardcore.

He’s completed the Viper challenge, the Spartan race and a host of other runs and endurance events, come rain, impossible Malaysian heatwave or mud underfoot.

“I’ll run till I can no longer walk,” he laughs, while he casually brushes off my open-mouthed wide-eyed gape at the golden trophy perched on a table in his office. It is the size of a small child (the trophy, not the office.)

“Oh yeah, that’s one of the trophies we won,” he says. For which team?

“For KL Galaxy,” he smiles.

Ah yes. The football team of which he’s a part and in which he plays, when he’s not fielding off good-natured ribbing from friends for Aston Villa FC’s recent relegation from the Premier League. (Gogzta — he jokes some find his name hard to pronounce so he makes it easy for them, like a champ — is an ardent Villa supporter.)

So. Running a company, running in all weather, football (playing and supporting, in equal measures of enthusiasm) and fatherhood.

What else, I think. Running for president? Saving a small nation? (“If I weren’t doing this,” — he gestures around the office — “I’d be teaching kids how to play football.”)

Not yet. The calm and cheerful fortysomething (must be all those endorphins) also elbows three other blokes for chair and air space at BFM’s studio every Friday between 7 to 8 pm while host Ross Yusof captains the four of them as they dissect and talk about — a guess, anyone? — football. He’s only been joining in on-air the last five years. No big deal.

I jest. And he knows it, for he takes a lot of things in good humour, except when it comes to common sense. Or the frustrating lack thereof.

Don’t ask him about what’s needed to best groom the next generation of empire-builders for he has a lot to say, and he doesn’t sugar-coat his words.

(Rightfully so. He’s only clocked up 23 years of working experience, 15 of which are with Rantau, and the rest, as he says, covering the “gamut of communications and media disciplines, from 3D animation, production, events and PR to digital billboards.”)

You cannot always be a fully hands-on CEO, he believes, for good reason.

“You need to entrust people with work,” he explains, “and through experience you realise they can do their jobs.”

“You need to take the shelter off them and that’s when they grow up.”

The final authority rests with him, obviously, as the CEO, but as he reminds me, even when critical decisions need to be made, “I am just a text away.”

In these contemporary times of cloud computing, he asserts, you don’t even need a laptop to check on your work: you just need your phone.

But (and there is always a but) “I’ve seen a lot of newbies — I interview them, I work with them — and what’s missing is common sense.”

One of the quirky (but effective signs) at the Rantau office
He relates, with frustration creasing his features slightly, about 22-year-olds who use their boyfriends or parents to drive them to interviews and then bring said boyfriends or parents into the office at which they’re being interviewed. No leaving the parent or paramour at the cafe or asking them to drive somewhere nearby. No. The personal entourage sits in the office while they interview for a job.

“If you don’t know how to take a bus or a cab when you’re 22 to attend an interview….” and he is shaking his head to conclude the observation.

He has a point. In an age where there is a multitude of public transportation and ride-sharing services, there really is little need to be driven and hand-held when you’re asking someone to hire you when you have no work experience.

“Don’t think you’re entitled to anything,”

he says, the emphasis on the word ‘entitled’ making me think if it stays on his tongue a second longer it might scald it.

He is not alone in thinking this. After speaking with dozens of CFOs, COOs and CEOs, this seems to be a common lament.

“I would throw them in the deep end and see how they survive. That’s when their instincts kick in. And that’s when you know when the person is worth keeping.”

He’s not being vicious — that’s not his style at all — he’s simply imparting valuable nuggets of CEO-level insights that cover both ends of experience, as an employee and as a business leader. CEOs are not exactly born the minute they exit the varsity campus gates.

But like Rantau, he has a youthful appreciation for innovation and fluid market responsiveness.

“This,” he declares, tapping on the screen of his smartphone, “is the screen now. In the 70s, it was the TV, billboards, and then other media came along and everyone was competing — media managers were telling advertisers, tell me what your message is and we’ll tell you where to put it. Then the job fell to corporate communicators. Now, in this day and age, it is the age of PR, and now the phone is the screen that people cannot live without.”

It might seem obvious to a Gen-Y or Gen-Z, but saying this out loud sounds like (another) clarion call for business evolution — specifically, the business of PR, for Rantau and for its clients, some of whom may be stubbornly insistent that their digital presence is a by-the-way rather than a we-need-to-do-this pressing matter.

He’s equally comfortable reiterating the importance of the old-school ways of the business (“Taking editors out for drinks and building relationships with them — does anyone do that anymore?” he wonders out loud,) as he is learning about new ways and lightning-fast developments.

“I’m a paid-up member of the relationship management club,” he says, without a trace of apology. Even though he recognises the liquid nature of media ownership and media presence in 2016’s capricious economy.

“Everyone who has a Facebook page is a media owner,” he says, not unkindly.

He also understands part of his job is to manage a client’s aversion to change. (Such as making space for digital branding and communication amidst the thick undergrowth of traditional communication.)

But change is what his team of 12 manages well, and not just crisis management.

Rantau, founded by his wife Janitha and her friends in 1992, can now include Big Blue Marble in their family as the new addition takes care of strategy-based consulting. Give me a ‘for instance’?

“If a bank has an internal comms team, it needs senior leadership to guide it. Instead of hiring an entire agency, which is the more prevalent route with SMEs, we at Big Blue Marble will come in and provide strategic and policy guidance, and the execution can subsequently be carried out by the internal comms team.”

This is when his wife — now Consulting Director, after taking a sabbatical in 2008 to spend more time with their children — steps in, fully armed and loaded with expertise, to help clients figuratively look their best in the marketplace.

Toy planes on Gogulan's desk, left there by his son

“We help you identify where and why you need to speak to which people,” he smiles confidently, “and what messages you need to craft.”

Of course. Because, as most of us know, messages can get lost in translation.


Original article written by the B Tribe (link)

We are in the TOP 10 of Advertising & PR

Join us as we celebrate this milestone.

Scroll down if the gif is giving you a seizure.

Rantau PR has been recognized as one of the top 10 public relations and advertising companies in Malaysia by Top 10 of Malaysia. I know, I know. The news has been shared months ago but only today, we found the online version to proof our awesomeness.

Read about it here >>> Of  Advertising & Public Relations – The Top 10

Party on and party hard. Just like we do at Rantau PR.

Farewell, Kiat

Saying goodbye is always a sad thing. It's even sadder when the person departing leaves an void in the lives of those around them..

In our case, Chin Yin Kiat has left the team without a Chinese-speaking Chinaman consultant! Who will now help us converse with the Chinese media in fluent Chinese? (Okay la, we do have colleagues who can speak Chinese as well but not without the Kiat flair) Who will point out our finances and expenses on a whim without us asking for it? Who will make us laugh with his single-sentence remarks that always has us clutching our tummies in laughter?

Chinaman Kiat

Well, Rantaurians are never one to hold back their colleagues and friends from pursuing their dreams and so, with a heavy heart, we wish Yin Kiat good luck in his pursue of his dream to become a K-pop manager.

To honour his memory, I mean, to bid him goodbye, the office threw him a surprise lunch party on his second last day. The theme: Chicken rice. Because that was his favourite meal. K-pop songs played from our Logitech speakers, a homage to a client that Kiat was familiar with. Logitech too wishes him all the best in his endeavors.

Even our bosses who could not be there in person took the time to Facetime Kiat at his party to wish him all the best. (Ah, the wonders of technology).


Kiat gave his speech, not without making us laugh as usual and of course, couldn't resist a photo with himself.

DSC_0206Before the bosses signed off, we couldn't resist rubbing our scrumptious spread in their faces especially the glistering roasted pork and succulent barbeque pork bits. (FYI: There are a lot of pork fans in the office, bosses included)


But as this was Kiat's party, we didn't forget rice and chicken as well.


Safe to say, Kiat approved of our party theme.


What is a party without gifts and once everyone was stuffed with chicken and pork and were slowly slipping into a food coma, the presents made their appearance.

Perhaps afraid of wasting wrapping paper, our guest star slowly and delicately opened up his gifts and found...



Think of these as gifts to get you started on your Kpop journey. We at Rantau PR will miss you dearly, Chin Yin Kiat.

As sobbed out by
Tania 'Fun Size" Wee