Okay, I won’t lie to you – but I was absolutely proud of the #PRWin we pulled off when Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak, during his televised Budget 2017 presentation to the country, recommended Uber as a way for Malaysians in the “B40” category (bottom 40% of households with monthly income of RM3,900 and below) to earn additional income.
He said, “To assist the B40 group, especially BR1M (Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia) recipients, to generate additional income, the government will encourage their participation as ride-sharing drivers such as Uber drivers, particularly those who own vehicles.”
This was particularly amazing to us because:
Ridesharing regulations in Malaysia have yet to be passed, yet we are already receiving endorsements from the highest levels of the Malaysian government that ridesharing is here to stay!
This clearly shows that the Government recognises how Uber can contribute to lifting people up economically by providing them flexible earning opportunities.
PM Najib Razak specifically mentioned Uber (and even used our logo as a visual aid), instead of our competitor (which claims to be the local player), as an example to expound on.
This is the latest achievement in a string of high-level Government endorsements for Uber in a country where there haven’t been formal ridesharing regulations yet. Previous endorsements have included:
(Jun 2016) Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit, trying his hand as a driver-partner with Uber, in his first public appearance since his term as senator ended.
Several months ago, I received an unexpected phone call. It was from recruiter inviting me to consider a role at Uber. While I wasn’t looking for new opportunities at the time, I was certainly intrigued. Three weeks later, I was told that Uber had made their choice: I was their new Head of Communications for Singapore and Malaysia.
It came somewhat surprisingly (and also ironically – I wasn’t exactly thrilled at their rebranding; so maybe this is an opportunity to “be the change you want to see”). Nonetheless, it is definitely a very compelling opportunity! I am thrilled to work with one of the most influential brands in the world today. Uber is literally changing the way we live. Since its inception in 2009, just 7 years ago, the company has changed the way people move*; it has hyper-connected locations; and it is revolutionizing business strategy (I mean, how many times have we wondered about which business would be “Uber-ed” next? “Uber-ed” is now part of the business lexicon!).
In this role, I will lead communications for both Singapore and Malaysia – focusing on brand building and storytelling for Uber to media and third parties. This means looking for compelling ways to show and tell how Uber is transforming the way people get around; giving folks an option for independent, flexible work; as well as cutting urban congestion by getting more butts into fewer cars. I’ll be driving campaigns and making a positive case for reform through creative and strategic storytelling across multiple platforms – traditional and digital, earned and owned.
On a personal front, this has also necessitated a move for my family and I to Singapore. So, bear with me if I’m a little uncommunicative during this transition period. Obviously, this is going to be more than a “just go to the new office on Monday morning for work”.
Well, here we go. Wish us luck!
(*Ahem* – Shameless plug ahead: Want to find experience more about what I’m talking about? Score your first ride free: enter “uberleighwong” when you sign up as a new Uber user.)
I’m very delighted that, for the second consecutive year, my team and I have been honored and recognized with a double win at the Malaysia PR Awards (MPRA), held by the PR Consultants Association (PRCA) of Malaysia. The MPRA is the Malaysia PR industry’s highest recognition for consultancies, campaigns and individuals behind cutting-edge communications programs and campaigns in the PR arena.
The first award was in the Product Brand Development category, which recognized the work we did for the Microsoft Surface range of devices. The entry of Microsoft’s Surface range of devices into the Malaysian market was one of the most highly anticipated consumer tech events of the year. The launch of Surface was an eagerly awaited event among local fans and the tech community in Malaysia. However, we certainly faced our own unique challenges with the Surface campaign. For example, at the launch of Surface RT in Malaysia in April 2013, the Surface Pro had already debuted in other markets worldwide. With consumers and media anticipating the “bigger and better” Surface Pro to arrive locally before long, we needed to build a campaign that brought forth the strengths of each model without diminishing the unique capabilities of the other; while maintaining the position that Surface are the most productive tablets on the planet. This challenge was replicated for the launch of Surface 2 in March 2014, where Surface Pro 2 – the successor to Surface Pro – was already announced to the world in September 2013.
The second award was in the Technology Award category, which honored the work we did in our year-long campaign on Transforming Education in Malaysia. This particular award is especially dear to me because of the great impact we landed for the business as well as for the great stories we landed in telling about how many great teachers and students are leveraging technology for the betterment of the country. In fact, I was recognized with a global award at the Microsoft Worldwide Summit earlier this year for this campaign!
I’m certainly very proud of the team! My heartfelt appreciation goes to our team at Priority Communications – without whom I definitely could not have won these awards! We’ve continued the great momentum from enjoying a double-win last year and I’m looking forward to the great work that we will do in the future as well.
I also want to thank my friends in the media: *SO MANY* of you have been very kind and supportive, always being open to our story pitches and engaging with me regularly. I’m blessed to count many of you as friends today!
I have a position open for candidates who are interested to pursue design and branding experience from “the Client’s perspective” – in this case, a bank based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The opportunity requires someone who can wear several hats and function in an “executive” role – besides doing basic design work (hence, strong communication skills – written, spoken in English, Bahasa Malaysia and, preferably, Chinese). Candidates also stand to chalk up significant rebranding experience for their long-term career aspirations.
Please email your resume to me personally at leigh316[at]yahoo[dot]com if you are interested in the position. I would appreciate it if you could include your current and expected remuneration requirements.
Please also forward this to others you feel are suitable.
For companies (especially smaller ones) that aren’t keen on paying bank merchant fees to conduct online/e-commerce transactions or are frustrated with the lack of ease and acceptability of other payment gateways, you’ll be glad to know that you can finally link your PayPal account to your local Malaysian bank account!