People’s Association vs The People

Please note this blog is non-partisan, and does not reflect the views of any politician, political parties or it’s affiliates.

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There has been an uproar recently in Singapore. Citizens are in loggerheads with the People’s Association’s recent comments and rebuttals to queries from opposition MP’s on the issue of allowing opposition MP’s to sit as GRC advisors in their elected ward.

This saga has opened a can of worms for the ruling party, and this is i believe is greatly caused by none other than the it’s director of Marketing and Communications – Ooi Hui Mui.

Such a delicate and consequential matter should have been handled with a lot more finesse than what was displayed. I am sure many would have expected a more sensitive approach from the statutory board and its exco.

I do give credit to the PA for being honest. But in such matters, reiterating the PA’s stand is a small part of the entire exercise. She should not have stopped there. Her ‘all inclusive’ reply has left many in her organisation with more than cake on their faces.

These are some ways which i believe the PA should have acted to curb the expected backlash and regain moral standing.

Option 1: If the PA chose to go the route of being brutally honest, they should have done it a 110%. The golden rule of crisis management remains. If you choose to be honest, be a 110% honest. Ensure nothing in your released statements can be questioned.

Ooi Hui Mui, released a statement which was 70% honest, and lacking in transparency.  We know that the PA stands for it’s principle. However a basic release should contain at least the following:

Cold hard truth – 70%

Responsibility and ownership of decisions should take up another 5%.

25% of content must explain why those decisions were made (and what results were expected of those decisions).

The last 10% must include how the PA plans to rectify the issue.

Without doing any of the above substantially, the PA has left the public guessing. This has resulted in many being forced to assume their own conclusions.

Option 2: The PA could have played ‘victim’ in this saga. By shifting partial blame to the ruling government (opp or ruling), the PA could have preserved a bit of moral ground- But this this will cast a huge shadow of doubt on the exco of the stat board. Not recommended.

But a possible and relatively easy resolution will be to hire a brand new exco (on paper). PA’s moral standing still intact, the ruling party slightly bruised and life returns back to normal.

Option 3 (my preferred) : Would have been to incorporate option 1 and initiate a committee to begin an enquiry into the matter. This will drag the issue for a couple of months. Cool public resentment. Invite opposition MP’s and residents of opposition wards to air opinions on the matter. Finally come to a conclusion that will appease everyone, most importantly- the people.

Next, the PA should re-initiate confidence and support for its activities by engaging communities and residents via social media. Social Media will appeal to the public and make the PA seem more transparent and approachable. Social Media will also allow the PA to discuss initiatives with residents online to gather feedback before giving any new initiatives the ‘green light’. Win-Win all round.

The power and importance of communications is often overlooked. Regardless of the scale of your business/organisation, whatever the changes that you maybe going through always communicate with your customers, stakeholders, partners or supporters clearly and effectively. In my opinion the PA handled this issue very poorly. If this in turn will prove to be the achilles heel of the ruling party remains to be seen.

How do you think the PA should have handled this matter? Feel free to comment or share your opinions with us.

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