Use the census to make a difference, chief statistician urges M'sians

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 23 Sep 2020

PETALING JAYA: The public should see the census as a platform to improve socio-economic hardships affecting them instead of voicing complaints on social media, says Mohd Uzir Mahidin (pic).

The chief statistician said the people should exercise responsibility and fill up the population and housing e-census before the Sept 30 deadline.

"So far, only 1.77 million people have filled up the e-census questionnaire online.

"Those who have yet to do so would be facing census takers from Oct 7 onwards.

"We need the data so that comprehensive policies could be drawn up based on a more realistic situation on the ground," he said.

The questionnaire contained 108 multi-dimensional questions, including those related to wellbeing, caring for the elderly and disabled persons and garbage collection.

Questions of whether residents are talking to their neighbours are also included.

"We are also using the data to gauge the happiness index," he said.

Uzir said after attending a United Nations Development Programme forum on Unpacking the New Poverty Line Income (PLI) and Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) findings on Wednesday (Sept 23).

Earlier during the forum, Uzir said internet connectivity was important not only for educational purposes but to empower the community.

"It can help promote entrepreneurship and creativity," he said.

Malaysian CSO-SDG Alliance co-chair Prof Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said urban poverty, which was regarded as relative poverty, must not be measured using national PLI, although it had been revised from RM980 to RM2,208.

In the Household Income Survey 2019, it was ascertained that the medium income for urban household was RM6,561.

For relative poverty calculation, the figure should be half, that is RM 3,280.00.

"But the government fixed PLI at RM2,208.00. But for urban poverty, such income figure is low," he said.

"The non-food PLI of RM1,170 is too low to capture urban poverty.

"For example, the monthly rental for a flat unit in Desa Mentari is RM600. This is not a public housing where the tenant only needs to pay less than RM150.

"Such reality of poverty on the ground is not being captured by PLI or MPI," he said.

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