THE government now has a common communications strategy with weekly meets for press secretaries following criticisms of its handling issues and inability to communicate its achievements effectively.
Sources told The Malaysian Insight that under the new plan of action, all corporate communications units and the press secretaries of each minister will have to attend a meeting every Tuesday.
“The corporate communications unit or the press secretary of each ministry will bring their respective issues to be discussed at the meeting. The meeting will then identify the five main issues and how it can be addressed,” said a source who was present at the meeting.
Another source said the media officials were also exposed to media training, including one conducted by veteran journalist Johan Jaaffar.
The current administration’s poor communications skills was previously raised by the special media and communications adviser to the prime minister, Abdul Kadir Jasin.
The veteran newsman had expressed his discontent over the performance of government officers appointed last March.
Former journalist Kadir said some of the government’s good deeds have not reached the people due to the failure of the communications teams in relaying these matters effectively.
“Communicate well and effectively with all levels of administration and people of all walks of life. Special officers, press secretaries and corporate communications have to improve. If stupid, learn. If don’t know, ask,” he had said.
Another source said the strategic communications meeting has been going on for a year. It is seen as a mechanism to handle issues related to the respective ministries.
“I think such meetings have been going on for a while now, but previously it did not include press secretaries. We have only been attending the last four meetings.
“Maybe they felt it is important to include press secretaries due to political reasons. Corporate communications only focuses on ministry affairs and often do not take political aspects into consideration,” he said.
However, if the issue at hand is slanted towards politics although it involves the ministry to a certain extent, it will then be handed over to the Pakatan Harapan (PH) secretariat, said the sources.
“Everything discussed is related to the management of ministries and the government, and not politics.
“If there are five issues listed involving politics, it will not be carried forward and will be handed over to the PH secretariat to look into,” the source added.